Thomasville divided as teams set to battle for gridiron glory

Aug. 22—THOMASVILLE — On Friday night the football players of Thomas County Central and Thomasville high school will step on the field to continue a tradition that predates their parents by decades. The entire town of Thomasville has spent months awaiting the most anticipated high school football game in South Georgia. The Rose City Rumble.

"This is just an exciting game. The whole community comes together," said Thomasville head coach Jonathan DeLay. "It's one of those where you've got houses that are divided. It's a fun match up, it's a stressful week as a coach, but I wouldn't trade it for the world."{

This is the biggest game of the regular season for these two historic programs, however, both DeLay and Yellow Jackets head coach Justin Rogers are being careful not to overwhelm their players and let them get distracted.

"This is such an opportune week for distractions. I mean, the whole town buzzes all week about this game and the excitement leading up to it," said Rogers. "But, you have to stay focused each day, getting done on that day what you have to get done."

DeLay shared a similar idea saying, "It is an intense week. You can't press this week. You still have to go out and prepare the way that you prepare."

Both Thomasville teams are coming off big wins in week one. The Bulldogs defeated Brooks County 42-20, while over in Cairo, the Yellow Jackets shut out the Syrupmakers 38-0. However, once again, both coaches are on the same page, not allowing a big win to make their teams complacent. Both DeLay and Rogers are pushing their teams, practicing, and preparing like they would for any other game.

"Yesterday, I saw our kids flying around with confidence in the scheme, confidence in each other, confidence in what they can do and that was a breath of fresh air to me and reminded me 'hey look. Yes this is a big game, yes, it's people that are in your own community, but at the end of the day preparing for a football game, you've done it over and over and over again'," said DeLay.

As for Friday night, this will be a big test for both teams. For Central, their defense was the star against Cairo, locking down the run and the passing game for a shut out. They will be looking to do the same to provide new quarterback Jaylen Johnson with a good cushion.

For the Bulldogs, coach DeLay made it very clear what he wants from his boys Friday night. Physicality.

"We've got to be the most physical team when we get to the field Friday night," DeLay said. "And I can see it in our kids right now, I see it in their preparation, I see it in their practice, I see it in their eyes. They are looking to go and be the most physical team."

There is no doubt among the community that this will be another great installment in this rivalry. With it being the 30th anniversary of Central's state championship win over Thomasville High School, sparks will fly as Yellow Jackets fans hope to turn the game into a celebration and Bulldog fans hope to have the sweet taste of revenge.

On Friday night, the moment every Thomasvillian has been waiting for will kick off at 7:30 pm at the Jackets Nest.