THOMASVILLE — Two straight disheartening losses has the Thomas County Central Yellow Jackets mired in a mini slump heading into the upcoming Class 4A playoffs. 

But don't expect Ashley Henderson's team to feel sorry for itself ahead of the team's regular season finale on Friday at Dougherty. Not with seeding on the line between the final two playoff teams in Region 1.

“There's a whole bunch on the line. We don't have time to throw our sucker in the dirt and pout,” Henderson said. “Credit the guys, they've had a good week thus far and gone to work. Being all-in doesn't mean you're all-in some of the time, it means you're all-in all the time. We're excited about the next opportunity.”

Central and Dougherty are tied with 2-2 region records. The winner will travel to Jenkins as the No. 3 seed, while the loser will travel to Benedictine as the No. 4 seed in the first round of next week's state playoffs. 

Central's objective this week has been focusing on finishing what it starts. It held a 13-0 halftime lead over Cairo two weeks ago before succumbing to the Syrupmakers in the second half and losing 14-13. Bainbridge scored the final 17 points last week in pulling away from Central 38-21.

“Credit those teams, they came out and made the plays they needed to make. We've got to make those plays,” Henderson said. “We've got to do a better job putting guys in position to make those plays. We've got to do a better job finishing when we're up. Our kids understand that. They know we're right there on the cusp of it. We've just got to break through and go finish.”

Central will look to finish against the surprise team of the year. After an 0-5 record in last year's COVID-shortened season, the Dougherty Trojans are 7-2 this season with their only two losses to region champion Bainbridge and a close 24-21 defeat to the Syrupmakers last week.

“I think anybody that paid attention to them last year knew they had a chance to be special with the QB (Kameron Davis) coming back and their overall athleticism,” Henderson said. “That kid, he makes their offense go. They've scored a bunch of points this year. They've scored on everybody.”

The Trojans have scored 314 points this season.

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