THOMASVILLE — What might have been the biggest victory in Ashley Henderson's tenure as Thomas County Central football coach came at just the right time for the Yellow Jackets.

Central defeated defending Class AA champion Callaway 24-8 last Friday night. It was the team's third straight victory heading into this week's Region 1-AAAA opener against Monroe. The Yellow Jackets are playing with as much confidence as they have ever had since Henderson took over as head coach in 2018.

“We're starting to play as a team. Our boys, they've bought in,” Henderson said. “They're working hard, enjoying each other and playing for each other and playing unselfish. To me, the best part of it is we have so much that we need to get better at that we are only scratching the surface right now of our true potential. I think that is also very, very encouraging as well. We're nowhere as good as I believe we will be.”

Central was at its best this year against Callaway. Persean Taylor ran for two touchdowns against the Cavaliers. Central's defense flirted with a shutout, surrendering a touchdown and two-point conversion with less than four minutes left. The Yellow Jackets' team effort helped end the Cavaliers' 11-game winning streak.

“It was a tough trip. It's a long way away. Our guys handled the trip really good,” Henderson said. “It was very business-like. There was no playing around. We got up there and they did their job. Anytime you go to a program like that, a championship program at home – they hadn't lost a game up there in like six years – it was a good night for us, that's for sure.”

Central hopes to ride its momentum into region play. The Yellow Jackets return to the Jackets Nest to host Monroe on Friday and then Westover next week. 

“They're doing exactly what they're supposed to be doing, being coachable and correcting their mistakes, being humble enough to correct mistakes and just continuing to get better every week,” Henderson said. “We want to get better every day we go out there and take every thing day by day. We're getting into the money games now. These are going to be the ones that punch your ticket to the dance.”

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