The Fayette Citizen-News Page
Friday, November 6, 1998
MHS Chiefs, FCHS Tigers battle tonight to crown co. champion

Sports Editor

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Though the context surrounding it isn't exactly what the McIntosh Chiefs or the Fayette County Tigers had hoped for, the biggest game of the year is upon Fayette County yet again. This Friday night McIntosh (2-7) will play host to Fayette County (5-4) for their final game of the season at 7:30 p.m. at McIntosh High stadium. Both teams are out of playoff contention and have had their share of disappointments with the 1998 season.

The Tigers will be without Wes Clark, a key running back in their offense, who was injured in their game against Upson-Lee. Fayette County got a glimpse of what was to follow without Clark in last week's game against Griffin as they only rushed for 59 yards. However, the Tigers are not without their share of weapons. Gerald Johnson is a more than capable quarterback who has got a great arm and is very comfortable running the option. He has several receivers to throw to, including Brandon Croft who got 123 yards off seven receptions against Griffin last week.

Fayette County has a big offensive line but most of the people on the line play defensively as well. Some key players both offensively and defensively are Aaron Lusk, Josh Sauls, Derek Knowles and Jeff Barnes. They have size, strength and speed advantages over McIntosh but are not infallible.

As for the Chiefs, there are no major injuries to report but the team has been banged up after several of their games recently. The defense for McIntosh has been solid this year but was left exposed several times by poor field position and uneven special teams. Nate Wesley, Kelechukwu Oparah and Ronnie Melton have been consistent standouts defensively throughout the season.

The Chiefs' offense has had its share of ups and downs but has gelled of late, excluding last week's loss to Newnan. Nathan Bittner has improved and matured from game to game at quarterback this season and has several receivers to throw to. One of those being D.J. Dunlap, who seems to have his shares of big plays this season, including a catch where he went 75 yards for a touchdown against Griffin. McIntosh also has some rushing threats in Dion Stokes, who has close to 900 yards on the season and Nick Dixon, who rushed for 108 yards last week.

The key for both teams is to not make mistakes. McIntosh coach Clint Ashmore was displeased with the execution the Chiefs displayed in last week's loss to Newnan. When asked about the game Ashmore said "Fayette County will come ready to play and we'll have to do the same."

The atmosphere for this game is always electric. The Tigers and the Chiefs both wait anxiously for this game every year and realize the magnitude that it carries with it. Despite the adversity that both teams have had this year, the bragging rights within the county should soothe the winner and give the fans something to jaw about until the beginning of next season.

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