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Local semi-pro football teams do battle on the gridiron

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

By Doug Gorman

dgorman@news-daily

It's not true that the start of football season is still more than a month away.

For the Henry Horsemen and the Georgia Jets, it's crunch time now.

The two semi-pro football teams, who play in the Gridiron Developmental Football League and have ties to the Southern Crescent, face off against each other tonight when they bring their undefeated 4-0 records into the contest at Strong Rock Christian School in Locust Grove in a 7 p.m. kickoff.

"We have never played them, but we are looking for a tough contest," said Henry Horsemen general manager Tyrone Barnes.

Joel Hillsman, who is a spokesperson for the Jets, calls this a statement game for the winner.

"These are two really good programs," he said. "The winner is going to control things for the rest of the year."

This is the first season for both teams in the GDFL. A year ago, the Jets won the Southern Football League title. The GDFL is a minor league football organization with more than 90 teams spread out across the country.

"We are trying to show we belong in this premier minor league football league," Hillsman said.

Defense was the key to both team's victories last week. The Horsemen, who will host Saturday's 7 p.m. kickoff, beat the West Georgia Renegades, 64-0, while the Jets beat the Georgia Crush, 59-0.

Both squads scored early and often en route to their wins. The Horsemen took control of their game with a 50-0 lead at the half. The Jets scored on three of their first four possessions and also never looked back either.

The Horsemen added some depth to their team last week when quarterback Charles McCullum returned from a stint playing arena football. That now gives the squad a one-two quarterback punch.

"It really helps to have two quarterbacks who can do what they are able to do for us," Barnes said.

Theo Maxie finished the game going 7 of 13 for 151 yards with a touchdown. McCullum was 7 of 10 for 136 yards. He passed for three TDs.The Henry Horseman's Greg Patterson finished the game with five catches and two touchdowns. Derrick Maxie and Andrew Powell each had a touchdown catch.

Jets quarterback Detronn Harris threw five touchdowns, one each going to Cole Stevenson, Ryan McDaniel and Nick Miller. He also hit Demetrius Griffin on two scoring strikes.

The Jets ran up more than 594 yards with Kevin Fancher adding his first 100-yard game of the season as he finished with 148 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Defensively, the Jermaine Allen and Alvin Cox had a fumble recovery for the Horsemen.

The Jets' defense has now earned three shutouts in a row. In its last outing, Greg Edwards, Bernard Davis, Nana Bandoh and Monteous Blockson forced the Crush into five turnovers. The Jets took advantage, converting them into five touchdowns. Monteous Blockson added two interceptions.

Fan Appreciation Day: The Henry Horsemen are thanking their fans tonight with a give away to a resort in Mexico. According to Barnes, the first 100 paying adult fans will receive details on how they can take advantage of a free four-day and three-night trip.