8th Ranked Toombs County Shocks the State with a Come-From-Behind Win Against 2nd Ranked Appling County

Lyons, GA – October 8, 2023 | Head Coach Buddy Martin | Article by Matt Lynn


On Friday night, the Toombs County Bulldogs strolled into Jimmy Swain Stadium in Baxley, home of the mighty Appling County Pirates.

In front of a capacity crowd, the Bulldogs shined early. On the opening kickoff, a Pirate returner seemed to fumble the ball. Toombs recovered and scored, but the play was ruled down at the Pirate 16-yard line. After a Pirate punt, Toombs took over on their own 38. On the second play from scrimmage, Appling intercepted a batted pass and returned it to the Bulldog 22-yard line. Four plays later, Pirate Senior Quarterback Dayson Griffis took a 3-yard run into the end zone for a 7-0 Pirate lead with 5:39 remaining in the 1st quarter. Toombs County answered with a 12-play drive that covered 69 yards, capped by a 31-yard scoring run by Junior Quarterback TJ Stanley. Braylen Dietrich tapped in the point after to even the score at 7 with 11:52 remaining in the first half. On the next Pirate drive, they moved to the Toombs 34 before the Red Bullet defense locked down on a 4th and 8, giving the Dogs the ball back with 8:43 remaining in the half. Two plays later, Stanley and Junior LaGonza Heyward connected on a 66-yard scoring pass to give Toombs a 14-7 lead. After forcing another Pirate punt, the Dogs marched back down the field on some long runs by Stanley, but the drive stalled at the Pirate 15-yard line. Dietrich drilled a 32-yard field goal, giving the Dogs a 17-7 lead with 2:56 remaining in the half. On the next Pirate drive, Senior Keshon Deloach intercepted a Griffis pass, and the Dogs headed into the locker room up 17-7 at the half.

On the opening drive in the second half, the Dogs drove down the field but stalled at the Appling 1-yard line after the Pirates held tough on a goal-line stand. Dietrich kicked a 24-yard field goal to extend the Toombs lead to 20-7 with 4:25 remaining in the third quarter. Appling switched to a single wing in the second half and challenged the Red Bullet defense. Six plays later, the Pirates scored on a 25-yard run, cutting the lead to 20-14. The Dogs moved the ball 68 yards on 5 plays before a Pirate defender intercepted a pass in the end zone and returned it to the Appling 19-yard line. The Pirates covered 81 yards on 11 plays to score a touchdown, regaining the lead 21-20 with 5:29 remaining in the game. The Dogs punted on their next drive, and the Pirates capitalized, scoring on a 64-yard touchdown run to lead 28-20 with 3:23 remaining.

The Dogs showcased their resilience, moving down the field and converting on a 4th down play that covered 34 yards from Stanley to Gavin Fletcher. Facing another 4th down at the Pirate 16-yard line with 56 seconds left, Stanley found Fletcher in the end zone. Despite tight coverage, Fletcher secured the game-changing touchdown. Stanley and Deloach connected for the 2-point conversion, tying the game at 28-28. On the kickoff, a Pirate returner muffed the return, and Toombs County recovered. Stanley ran one play for 7 yards and ran the clock down to 8 seconds. Dietrich lined up for a 32-yard game-winning attempt. The Pirates tried to ice him with two timeouts. Undeterred, Dietrich made the field goal, giving the Dogs a 2-second lead. The Dogs clinched the road win, moving to 7-0 for the first time since 1995 and 3-0 in Region 3AA, holding first place. The victory over #2 Appling County is the highest-ranked win in the program’s history.

Number 4 ranked Pierce County will visit the PIT this Friday, with a region title possibly at stake. We need our fans to “Pack the PIT” like never before on this Friday.

For the complete stat line, click here.

Passing: 10/20 for 219 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
Rushing: 29 carries for 119 yards, 1 TD
Total Offense: 338 yards
Penalties: 6 for 55 yards
Turnovers: 2
1st Downs: 14
3rd Down Conversions: 4/10
4th Down Conversions: 2/2
Time of Possession: 28:27

Passing: 4/8 for 23 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT
Rushing: 37 carries for 333 yards, 4 TDs
Total Offense: 356 yards
Penalties: 12 for 140 yards
Turnovers: 3
1st Downs: 12
3rd Down Conversions: 4/9
4th Down Conversions: 1/2
Time of Possession: 19:33