THOMASVILLE — The Thomas County Central Yellow Jackets will attempt to remain king of the postseason lions.

After downing the Westlake Lions 28-21 in the second round of the Class AAAA playoffs last week, Central hosts the St. Pius X Lions at Thomas County Stadium tonight with a semifinal berth in the Georgia Dome at stake.

Central coach Ed Pilcher said the trenches will be the key for the Yellow Jackets to tame these Lions (10-2).

“What they lack in (athleticism), they do such a great job at the lines of scrimmage,” he said. “To me, I think you’re going to win the game at the line of scrimmage, anyway.

“They’re going to pound you and pound you and pound you and play really good defense and make you earn everything. It’s going to be tough.”

In addition to making their opponents work for yards and points, the Lions don’t put their defense in a hole with mistakes, either.

“They don’t do much to hurt themselves,” Pilcher said. “They haven’t so far this year.”

One way Central (9-3) has made it easier for its own offense during its current six-game win streak has been an efficient passing attack.

Junior quarterback P.J. Williams has completed 23 of 39 passes during the streak for 445 yards and three touchdowns. Central hasn’t thrown an interception since its 31-7 loss to Cairo on Oct. 6. Williams especially thrived last week and in the regular season finale against Bainbridge. He completed all four passes for 80 yards against Westlake. Against the Bearcats, he finished 5 of 8 for 129 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown to Dontavia Bogan.

Williams suffered his worst game in the stretch during the first round against Westside-Macon when he completed just five of 13 passes. However, he found Bogan on a 30-yard strike on a fourth-and-7 with 5:31 left for the game-winning score.

“Absolutely, P.J. Williams had a great pass against Westside there to put them ahead for good,” St. Pius coach Paul Standard said. “It was a great throw. He certainly has the ability to throw. They just haven’t thrown a lot, so far.”

While Williams’ development has been vital to Central’s late flourish, Pilcher said the strengthening of the team as a unit has been of the utmost importance.

“I think the biggest thing with our whole team is understanding that everybody has a role and you do your part and don’t try to do too much,” Pilcher said. “Everybody understands that.

“We had our little devotion on Friday and (Rev.) Keith (Stewart) from First Baptist Church — we’ve been talking about it and talking about — he put it all together for us. Every man is like a strand of rope. If you braid them all together and they stay together, then you’re going to have a lot stronger rope than if you go in as just one little strand.

“I think we understand that. It took us a while to get there and kind of trust each other. It’s not that we didn’t trust, we just have more confidence in each other.”

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