Georgiana victorious in ‘Battle of 8 Miles’

Published 4:43 pm Tuesday, September 5, 2023

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On Friday night, Georgiana and McKenzie football teams faced off in the “Battle of 8 Miles,” a game that Georgiana Coach Berry Bess called the “Iron Bowl of Butler County.” Georgiana prevailed 54-14 at the Panthers home field and Bess said that last week’s loss to W.S. Neal was a wake up call that gave the players newfound motivation. 

“I’m glad we were able to get into the win column,” Bess said. “We played a tough game last week, but didn’t necessarily play our game. It was a wake up call for us. We went back to work and  focused on doing the little things right. We will watch this film together, make corrections as needed and continue to move forward. This game was just one step on our journey.”

The game began with a 47-yard touchdown run by Panther player No. 2, Cam Miles. Mckenzie’s No. 12, Ziquayvion Jackson, caught an interception, before the Panthers recovered a fumble by the Tigers. 

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Mckenzie got on the board with a touchdown pass from No. 2 Jaylen Mcmillian to Jackson with less than two minutes remaining in the first quarter. Georgiana responded with a 44-yard touchdown run from No. 3 Jacquese Abner, taking the lead with 14-7. 

The second quarter began with two back-to-back fumbles by McKenzie recovered by the Panthers. Georgiana captured their third touchdown of the night when No. 10 Jacobie Morgan threw a 13-yard pass to No. 6 Jay Smith with a minute left on the clock. The first half ended with a sack by Georgiana player No. 1, Marques Payton. 

Bess said his offensive line stepped up to the challenge. 

“The offensive line stood up to the challenge and we ran the ball well with three running backs,” Bess said. “Defense and specials team created multiple extra possessions for the offense, by causing turnovers.”

In the second half Payton extended the lead with a 17-yard run into the end zone. Abner earned his second touchdown of the night with a 13-yard run for a lead of 38-7. The Tigers fought for their second touchdown with a three yard run by McMillian. In the last quarter Miles ran in a six yard touchdown for the Panthers. 

The last score of the night was gained by Abner with a minute left on the board and Georgiana ended the game victorious with 54-14. 

McKenzie coach Brian Bradford commended the Panthers and said the Tigers played hard. 

“It was a tough loss last night,” Bradford said. “Congratulations to Coach Bess and Georgiana. They are a really good football team and will go really far this season. I thought our players played very hard, we just made too many mistakes and when you play a good team like them, you can’t make those costly mistakes. We will keep working and get better every day.”

McKenzie’s next game will be at home against Brantley, and Georgiana will travel to face Florala on Sept. 8.