THOMASVILLE -- It's time to regroup for the Thomas County Central Yellow Jackets.

A Region 1-AAAA title is no longer within their reach after last week's 42-41 loss to Lee County. The Yellow Jackets are left fight for a first-round home playoff game as they host the Ware County Gators on Friday. The winner will claim the No. 2 seed in the region. The loser gets the third spot and the first-round road trip that goes with it.

"We need that," said Central head coach Ed Pilcher. "It'd be nice to be able to play at home in the first round. It'd be very nice."

Central fell behind 20-7 at halftime against Lee before rallying to take a 28-20 lead in the third quarter. But Trojans quarterback D'Vontrey Richardson was too much, accounting for all six Trojans' touchdowns, including four through the air.

The Yellow Jackets must now to try to regroup against a Gators' squad that's won two straight region games after a 27-10 loss to Lee County, the region champion.

"It won't be as tough as you think," said Pilcher. "Kids are a lot more resilient than we are. I don't think it's going to be a problem. It can't be. We've got too much at stake at this game right here.

"Even if we'd won (against Lee), we still have to get our butts up to win this one."

Central must find ways to improve its pass defense, which was lit up by Richardson. He passed for 314 yards and had six passes of 20 or more.

"Ware runs the ball a little bit more this year than they have been," said Pilcher. "That doesn't mean they can't throw it downfield, that's for sure. Our kids have got to do a better job. We've just got to keep coaching them and coaching them about getting beat deep, don't let folks run by you.

"We've just got to be a little more disciplined. We've just got to keep working at it. That's all we can do."

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