Philadelphia's Romon Gray looks for running room against Wilkinson County Friday night. The Tornadoes won the game 34-14 and will travel to West Marion this Friday night to play in the third round of the state class 3A football playoffs.
Philadelphia's Romon Gray looks for running room against Wilkinson County Friday night. The Tornadoes won the game 34-14 and will travel to West Marion this Friday night to play in the third round of the state class 3A football playoffs.
The Philadelphia Tornadoes hit the road this Friday as they take on West Marion in the third round of the Class 3A state football playoffs.

This will be a battle of undefeated teams. The 13-0 Tornadoes advanced with a 34-14 win over Wilkinson County. And 12-0 West Marion defeated McLaurin 50-9 in their second round game. Kickoff will be set for 7 p.m. in Foxworth.

This is the second year in a row the two teams have met in the playoffs. Last year, Philadelphia defeated the Trojans 22-14.

"They have 16 starters back from last year, and I'm sure they remember us," Tornado coach Teddy Dyess said. "They are a big, strong football team. I would say we are about equal. It's probably going to come down to a touchdown or a field goal in the end."

The winner plays the winner of Hazlehurst and Seminary which is also being played Friday night. That meeting will be for the South State Class 3A champion on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

"We still have to practice this Monday," Dyess said to his team following Friday night's win over Wilkinson County. "The thing about our team is that we are still improving and getting better. There are still things we can improve on.

"And playing this late into the playoffs is an advantage to our younger kids as well. It gives them extra reps to learn their position for next year," Dyess said.

Wilkinson County took the opening kickoff, punted after four downs, and then recovered a fumble on first down. The Wildcats drove down to the Philadelphia 25-yard line where they ran out of downs and the Tornadoes took over.

It took Philadelphia eight plays to score with Jacardius Griffin going into the end zone from one yard out. John Harold Smith kicked the extra point and the Tornadoes went up 7-0 with 4:30 left in the first quarter.

The Tornadoes forced Wilkinson County to punt and took over on their own 49-yard line. Griffin would score on a nine-yard run. Smith's kick was good and the Tornadoes led 14-0 with 11:53 left in the second quarter.

Wilkinson County took the kickoff and drove 64 yards in 10 plays for a touchdown of its own. Quarterback Devin Voorhies connected with Damon McMorris on 22-yard TD pass play. The extra point kick was blocked and the Tornadoes led 14-6 with 9:02 left in the second quarter.

Later in the second quarter, the Tornadoes came up with their final scoring drive of the first half. Quarterback Romon Gray connected with Kaylon Gray on a 35-yard pass completion that moved Philadelphia deep into the Wildcats' territory. Three plays later, Griffin scored on a four-yard run. Smith's kick was good and the Tornadoes carried a 21-6 lead in at the half.

Gray connected with Anthony Triplett in the third quarter on a 20-yard TD pass play. The kick failed and Philadelphia led 27-6 with 8:13 left in the third quarter.

Philadelphia took over on downs early in the fourth quarter to set up their final scoring drive. Kaleb Moore scored on a one-yard run, capping an 11-play, 40-yard drive. Smith kicked the extra point and the Tornadoes led 34-6 with 6:55 left in the game.

The Wildcats came back with a scoring drive of their own. Allenzoe Staggers caught a 30-yard TD pass from Voorhies with 3:57 left in the game. Voorhies passed for the two point conversion.

Philadelphia took the ensuing kickoff and ran out the clock.

The Tornadoes finished the game with 438 total yards. Philadelphia rushed 46 times for 304 yards and completed 5-of-7 passing attempts for 134 yards. The Wildcats had 155 total yards on offense. Wilkinson completed rushed for 40 yards on 26 carries and completed 12-of-26 passes for 115 yards.

Gray rushed for 137 yards on nine carries and had all of the passing yards for 252 total yards and one touchdown. Griffin rushed for 100 yards and scored three touchdowns. Kaleb Moore had two receptions for 60 yards.

Fent Mars was the leading tackler with 16. Moore had nine and Malek Moore added six.

Wilkinson County finishes the season with a 9-3 record.