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Robert Joseph Kight
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Stockbridge edges Hounds for second place

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Jones County’s bid to earn a home playoff game for the second year in a row was dashed Friday night when Stockbridge rallied for a 17-10 victory in Gray.

The Greyhounds, who finished the regular season with an 8-2 record, wound up third in Region 4-5A and will open the state playoffs next Friday at Bainbridge. Bainbridge, 5-5, secured the second spot in Region 1 with a 44-3 victory over Thomas County Central on Friday, and Warner Robins downed Veterans 28-0 to win the Region 1 title.

Dutchtown, 10-0, had already clinched the Region 4 crown and will host Harris County, 4-6, in the first round next week. Stockbridge, 9-1, finished second in Region 4 with the win over Jones County and will host Veterans, 8-2, next weekend.

Jones County led 10-7 at halftime against Stockbridge, but the Tigers rallied with a long touchdown pass in the third quarter to go ahead 14-10 and added a field goal early in the fourth quarter to stretch the lead to 17-10.

The Greyhounds made two late drives to try to tie the game, but the first ended with a sack that forced them to punt the ball away with 3:35 to play. The Jones County defense held, forcing a punt that gave the Greyhounds the ball at the Stockbridge 44 with 1:16 to play. Hunter Costlow hit Maleek Wooten with a 42-yard pass to the 2 on first down, but two running plays were stopped for no gain before Jones County called time out with 37.6 seconds to go.

Coach Justin Rogers sent in Jones County’s short-yardage power unit and it appeared to score on a 2-yard run by Jake Lanford, but an illegal procedure penalty wiped out the touchdown and backed the Greyhounds up to the 7. A end-around pass back to Costlow on third down was incomplete, and then a fourth-down fade pass from Costlow to John Walton was also incomplete. The Jones County coaches believed a pass interference penalty should have been called on the play, but the officials threw no flags, and Stockbridge was able to take a knee to run out the clock.