The ECI Bulldog football team will take the long trip to South Georgia Friday to face the Bulldogs from Lanier Co. in the first round of the state playoffs. ECI will enter the first round as the number 3 seed from region three with a 5-5 season and 2-2 region record.
The Bulldogs from Lakeland are the number 2 seed from region two with a 7-2 season and 3-1 region record. Lanier secured the number 2 seed Friday by defeating region opponent Charlton Co. 32-28.
The two teams have one common opponent to compare, which most of the time doesn’t mean doodly-squat. Both teams played McIntosh Co. at home this season. ECI defeated their region opponent 35-7 while Lanier Co. took care of the Buccaneers 10-0. Lanier jumped out to 4-0 to start the season and broke into the AJC top 10 and led in the defensive category allowing a total of 17 total points in their 4 wins. They had back-to-back losses which dropped them out of the top 10, losing a non-region game against Pelham 40-23 and region 2 champion Clinch Co., 35-16.
Clinch Co. at 9-1 and Lanier Co. at 7-2 are the only teams in region 2 who will enter the state playoffs with more than 2 wins during the season. Lanier is a balanced team on offense passing with just over 1,100 yards and rushing for over 900 yards during the regular season.
The Bulldogs from Lakeland are an experienced team with 15 seniors out of their listed 34 players.
Although young with just 4 seniors, the Bulldogs are battled tested. Maxpreps listed the Bulldogs as having the fourth toughest schedule in Class A division II.
All 6 of the Bulldogs’ non-region opponents are in the state playoffs with two of their wins coming against two region champions, Dublin and Johnson Co.
In other region 3 vs region 2 first round games 4-6 McIntosh Co. will travel to 9-1 Clinch Co., 2-7 Charlton Co. will travel to 9-1 Jenkins Co. and region champion Portal will host 2-7 Turner Co.
Kickoff is scheduled at 7:30. Any ticket, stadium rules and parking information will be posted on the Emanuel County Institute and ECI Bulldogs Football Facebook pages.