THOMASVILLE -- The Early County Bobcats continue to play Pillsbury Doughboy defense. They were soft in the middle again in Friday night's 21-7 Region 1-AA loss to the Brooks County Trojans (5-2, 2-1).

The Bobcats (4-3, 2-1), set to visit first-place Thomasville (4-3, 3-0) next week, surrendered 439 rushing yards, including 179 on 19 carries by former Bulldogs rusher A.D. Phillips. They gave up more than 500 yards on the ground the previous week in a 55-20 setback against Mosley, Fla. Thomas County Central also ripped Early County for more than 500 yards on Sept. 9 and Albany piled up more than 400 against it a week later.

Unfortunately for Thomasville, it will not be at full strength when it hosts the Bobcats. One of its best blockers, David Clark, will miss the game. He was ejected in the second quarter of Friday's 27-13 win over Albany (1-7, 0-4).

Albany's Desmond Potts was also tossed after a brief skirmish with Clark. Potts appeared to initiate the late contact that took place on a first-and-10 play near the Bulldogs' sideline.

Thomasville, already without injured fullback Fredrick Moore, led 14-0 when the ejections occurred. It posted two more first-half scores but was blanked in the second half, gaining only 45 yards.

n The Bulldogs' special teams shined again Friday night. After posting two scores in their 14-6 win the previous week against Brooks County, they opened the Albany game with a kickoff return across midfield. The jaunt by Michael Murphy set up Thomasville's first score.

Seconds later, several Bulldogs stormed through the Albany line and kept Deantwan Price from getting off a punt. A low snap bounced past Price, and Murphy came up with the ball after a wild scramble at the Tribe 12.

n As the only 1-AA team with a perfect region mark, Thomasville remains in total control of its playoff destiny. If it stumbles into a multiple tie atop the region with Brooks County and Cook, however, the Trojans will hold an edge because they own a Class AA win against West Laurens.

Wins against non-region AA foes are a tiebreaker.

The Bulldogs own a head-to-head edge over the Trojans. In addition to Early County, their remaining region games are against Cook (6-2, 3-1) and Mitchell-Baker (1-6, 0-3). Cook fell to the Trojans 9-0.

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