Bulldogs triumph over undefeated Loachapoka, ready to take on Leroy in round 3

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

The Brantley Bulldogs (8-4) emerged victorious against the previously undefeated Loachapoka Indians (10-1) in a nail-biting game on Bulldog turf Friday. The Bulldogs, led by head coach Roland Jones, displayed resilience and determination as they handed the Indians their first loss of the season with a final score of 14-12 in round two of the Class 1A playoffs.

Jones had a simple strategy going into the game – stay focused and play mistake-free football. Despite facing adversity earlier in the season due to injuries, the Bulldogs executed their game plan flawlessly, securing a hard-fought win.

“The biggest challenge for us is to stay focused and play one play at a time,” Jones said. “We have faced a lot of adversity with the injuries and we are playing with confidence now that everyone has returned. We just have to play mistake-free football and execute on all aspects of the game, play our best and hope that is good enough to get a win.”

The Bulldogs indeed executed successfully, rising to the occasion with the first touchdown of the game coming in the second quarter as quarterback Jayden Parks connected with Cooper Layton in the endzone, giving the Bulldogs a 6-0 lead heading into halftime.

The Indians fought back in the third quarter, but Jatavis McMeans thwarted their efforts when he extended the Bulldog lead, intercepting the ball and returning it to the Brantley endzone for an additional six points.

Loachapoka did manage to get on the board with a touchdown in the third quarter, capitalizing on a Bulldog fumble. However, the Bulldogs’ defense held strong, preventing the Indians from taking the lead.

As the clock ticked down in the fourth quarter, the Indians had one last opportunity for a game-winning touchdown. However, a relentless Brantley defense prevented the Indians from advancing.

Coach Jones reflected on the team’s performance, expressing excitement about their progression and the promising future that lies ahead, citing the contributions of both seasoned seniors and emerging young talents. Looking forward to round three at home against Leroy, Jones maintains a focused and grounded approach.

“I am excited about this team’s progression and what the future holds because we have a lot of young guys that are shining bright, right along with our seniors,” Jones said.“We just gotta take it one game at a time and one play at a time and see what the future holds for us.”

After conquering the Loachapoka Indians last week, tonight the Bulldogs are set to take on the Leroy Bears, another undefeated team, in a high-stakes matchup on their home turf. As the community celebrates the thrilling victory against Loachapoka, anticipation builds for what promises to be another intense battle in the Brantley Bulldogs’ quest for glory.

Jon Harper Kilcrease, who plays linebacker and offensive tackle for the Bulldogs, is eagerly anticipating tonight’s game.

“We will play tonight just as we have all games,” Kilcrease said. “Through the ups and downs of this season, our team has been willing to do whatever is needed. We have learned how to be flexible. Just like Round 1, we came into the game against Loachapoka as underdogs. But with a good game plan and execution, we were able to edge away with a close victory. This week, we are presented with an even tougher challenge against Leroy. I believe if we come out tonight and play with grit, determination, and execute the game plan, we will be ready for the challenge and can come out on top.”