By Kevin Price
It doesn’t matter who Appling County plays, senior running back Jaylen Johnson seems to like their end zone.
The standout athlete for the Pirates has played a key role for the team as it pursues the state championship in Class AA. He has scored eight touchdowns in Appling’s playoff victories the last two weeks as the team now stands two wins away from a state title.
Last Friday night in the quarterfinals, Johnson scored four times as the Pirates pulled away after halftime for a 44-21 victory at Callaway in a game they led 16-14 at the break. For his clutch performance, Johnson has been selected by 912 Sports as the Coastal Pines Technical College Player of the Week for the third week of the high school football playoffs here in Southeast Georgia.
Against Callaway, Johnson, who is 5-foot-11 and 198 pounds, totaled 200 all-purpose yards. That number included 160 yards rushing. He scored three rushing touchdowns and also had a receiving touchdown.
The week before in Appling’s 35-13 win over Northeast in the second-round game played in Baxley, Johnson finished the game with 154 all-purpose yards while also scoring four touchdowns.
Johnson and the Pirates sailed past Washington County 65-14 in the first round on Nov. 11. The Pirates rushed for 194 yards in the win.
Appling is set to take on Thomson at home this Friday in the state semifinals. The Pirates are back in the semifinals for the second straight season. Last year, they lost in the Class AAA semifinals at Cedar Grove which went on to win the state championship the following week.
"I'm proud of Jaylen's response to dealing with injuries" said coach Jordan Mullis. "He's a dynamic player who has a 3.5 core GPA with honors. Not only is he a great rusher, he can catch the ball out of the backfield and contribute on special teams."
Appling advanced to the semifinals last season by defeating Thomson in the quarterfinals in Thomson.
The winner of Friday’s rematch in the Class AA ranks will play for the state title next Friday in Atlanta against the other semifinal between defending state champion Fitzgerald and Fellowship Christian which eliminated Pierce County from the championship chase last week in the quarterfinal round.
Coastal Pines Technical College
Football Players of the Week
Week 1 - John McCleod (OL/DL, Glynn Academy)
Week 2 - DJ Bell (Running Back, Pierce Co.)
Week 3 - Garrett Stevenson (Kicker, Charlton Co.)
Week 4 - Antwain McDuffie (Running Back, Coffee)
Week 5 - Matt Fuller (Running Back, Wayne Co.)
Week 6 - Monte Stokes (Running Back, MCA)
Week 7 - Dayson Griffis (Quarterback, Appling County)
Week 8 - Ivan Johnson (Safety, Brunswick)
Week 9 - Greg Peacock (Running Back, Glynn Academy)
Week 10 - Jordan Triplett (Running Back, Frederica Acd)
Week 11 - Nikao Smith (Quarterback, Ware Co.)
Week 12 - Deonte’ Cole (Running Back, Camden Co.)
Week 13 - James Summersett (Safety, Liberty Co.)
Week 14 - Trey Hargrove (Linebacker, Ware Co.)
Week 15 - Jaylen Johnson (Running Back, Appling Co.)
By Kevin Price
Long County has had another successful flag football season.
It’s actually still going on for the Blue Tide who are getting set to compete in the state tournament.
And , if Long County wins any more games going forward, there’s a good chance senior defensive standout Melissa Vazquez will make her presence felt for the Blue Tide.
In her Senior Night game last Monday, Vasquez put together a nice individual highlight clip. She finished with 14 tackles and three interceptions. She actually returned two of those interceptions for touchdowns as Long County clicked to a 50-0 victory over Brunswick High at home in the final game of the regular season.
“Melissa is an elite athlete. She has been a huge part of our defensive success. She continues to impress me,” said Long head coach Michael Paul Austin. “Senior Night, she really stepped up and set the tone for the entire game. I’m so extremely proud of her.”
Long will go into the state tournament with an 8-3 overall record. The team won all four of its Area I South Division games. The Blue Tide fell to Calvary Day in the area championship game last week.
Long is scheduled to face Richmond Hill next Tuesday in its opening game in the state playoffs.
Coastal Pines Technical College
Girls Student-Athlete of Week
Week 1 - Kate Merritt (Coffee, Cross Country)
Week 2 - Trinity Johnson (Appling Co., Softball)
Week 3 - Marin Bograd (Camden Co., Cross Country)
Week 4 - Georgia Meredith (Vidalia, Cross Country)
Week 5 - LizAnn Huges (Pierce Co., Softball)
Week 6 - Kaleigh Joiner (Ware Co., Softball)
Week 7 - Hannah Capps (Coffee, Softball)
Week 8 - Brooke Register (Ware Co., Volleyball)
Week 9 - Cailin Pritchard (Effingham, Volleyball)
Week 10 - Kelsey Parlor (Jeff Davis, Softball)
Week 11 - Kadence Godwin (Pierce Co., Softball)
Week 12 - Samantha Savinon-Rios (Ware Co., Cross Country)
Week 13 - Amelia Sullivan (Glynn Academy, Flag Football)
Week 14 - Melissa Vazquez (Long Co., Flag Football)
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