THOMASVILLE — The Thomas County Central Yellow Jackets were looking for two things in their first meeting with the Lake Placid Dragons on Friday night: establish consistency on the offensive side of the ball, and minimize the mistakes that had doomed them in their first two contests.
Mission accomplished on both counts.
The Yellow Jackets never punted during the game, and had only two penalties and a single turnover in a 50-6 rout of Lake Placid at The Jackets’ Nest.
“We finally got out of our own way here tonight, and the results pretty much speak for themselves,” Central head coach Ashley Henderson said after the game.
The game was precariously close to not happening at all, as Lake Placid left 15 players at home due to COVID-19 issues.
“I tip my cap to the Lake Placid team for their effort,” Henderson added. “They could’ve easily just said they didn’t want to play tonight, but their coach wanted their guys to get the experience of playing here in this kind of environment. Nothing but respect from here.”
The single Yellow Jacket turnover of the night happened on Central’s opening possession. After a couple of solid runs from sophomore running back Trey Brenton, Central quarterback Sam Brown attempted a quick out toward the Lake Placid sideline that was intercepted by a Dragon defensive back and returned to the Yellow Jacket 2-yard line. Two plays later, Lake Placid scored, and with 9:44 left in the opening quarter led the stunned home team by a 6-0 lead.
However, the Dragon lead was short lived. Central’s Tyler Floyd returned the ensuing kickoff all the way to the Lake Placid 40. On the first play from scrimmage, Brown took the snap and ran through the Lake Placid defense for a sparkling touchdown run. With Campbell Smith’s PAT, Central took the lead 7-6 with 9:17 left in the quarter.
And after that, Central never looked back.
On the next Dragon possession, Central blocked the Lake Placid punt. Two plays later, Brown hit senior Yellow Jacket receiver Tray Huewitt in the back left corner of the end with a perfectly placed pass for another Yellow Jacket touchdown. With 5:50 still remaining in the opening frame, Central pushed the lead to 14-6.
After another blocked punt, Central running back Brenton got in on the scoring act with a 10-yard touchdown with 3:45 left in the first to push the lead to 21-6.
With time running down in the opening quarter, freshman sensation Dee Reddick returned a Dragon punt from his 40 to the Lake Placid 18-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, quarterback Brown threw a touchdown pass to Huewitt, who was laying on his back in the front right corner of the end zone, snagging the ball out of the air before it hit the ground. With 50.7 seconds left in the first quarter, Central extended the lead to 28-6.
The next possession for Central came in the second quarter. Senior quarterback Will Dean relieved Brown, and starting from the Yellow Jacket 48-yard line the Central offense featured junior offensive star Tyler Floyd. On four successive plays Floyd carried the ball out of the backfield, ripping off gains of 5, 16, 14, and a final burst of 22 yards for another Central touchdown to make the lead 35-6 with 8:52 left in the half.
On Lake Placid’s next possession Central’s defense again forced a punt. The snap went over the punter’s head and rolled into the end zone, where the Dragon punter fell on the ball for a safety for a 37-6 score with 5:51 on the clock.
Central wide out Quincy Clark was then the featured offensive performer on the next Yellow Jacket possession, including a 18-yard run on a jet sweep. Quarterback Dean then threw a 22-yard strike to Clark, who drug the ball away from two Lake Placid defenders in the front of the end zone for another Central score. With 5:06 remaining the half, the Yellow Jacket lead was 44-6.
Senior running back Anthony Green closed out the nights scoring with a touchdown in the third quarter with 2:56 left in the quarter. The second half was played with a running clock.
The Yellow Jacket defense dominated the game overall, as Lake Placid had negative yardage overall during the majority of the game.
A large Central crowd watched Central get its first win of the season, while Lake Placid falls to 0-2. The Yellow Jackets will now host Godby’s Cougars from Tallahassee, who lost 40-37 to Lincoln on Friday night.
“Next week will be a whole different kind of test for our team,” Henderson concluded. “We’ll learn a lot about ourselves with how we build off the momentum of this win against what we know will be a really solid Godby team.”