Quarterback Logan Hickman looks to make the pass during last year’s 22-17 win over Upson. (File photo/Russ Campbell)

Quarterback Logan Hickman looks to make the pass during last year’s 22-17 win over Upson. (File photo/Russ Campbell)

With just three weeks left in the regular season, Mary Persons’ path to return to the playoffs after missing last year is getting clearer. And Friday’s game against Upson-Lee will go a long way toward determining whether MP makes the postseason.

The top four teams in Region 2-AAA punch their tickets to the playoffs. Clinch County and Peach County appear to have solidified the top two spots, and the Cougars beat the Trojans last week, all but solidifying their claim as region champs.

MP currently sits where it wound up last year, in fifth place, on the outside looking in behind Jackson and Upson-Lee. But the schedule is in their favor. The Bulldogs have already taken their losses to powerhouses Peach and Crisp. Jackson and Upson-Lee both must still must play Peach County. So if the Dogs take care of business on Friday they should be in good shape.

The Knights (4-3, 4-2 region) run the ball first, last and always, having only completed 11 passes all year. That running game is led by senior running back Detravious Mathis, No. 34. He averages 8 carries and 90 yards per game and has two touchdowns on the year. Upson spreads the ball to a lot of other backs as well. Junior TJ Searcy, No. 44, leads the Knights with six touchdowns. He’s a beast, listed at 6-foot-5, 250 pounds. 

Defensively, the Knights are led by senior linebacker Jadarius White, No. 7, who averages 9 tackles per game and has 7 tackles for a loss. Sophomore linebacker Adonis Brazil, No. 45, is the second leading tackler with 8 tackles per game.

Upson’s worst loss of the season was a 44-33 defeat at the hands of Pike County, who MP throttled last Friday. However Upson fared better than MP against the teams’ other common opponent, Crisp County. 

Last year Mary Persons quarterback Logan Hickman hit receiver Adrian Hughley for a touchdown with 15 seconds left to give the Bulldogs a stunning come-from-behind 22-17 win over the Knights. Hickman had the best night of his career completing 21 of 32 passes for 334 yards and 2 touchdowns. Upson-Lee had scored two touchdowns in 6 minutes in the 4th quarter to take its first lead of the night. The Bulldogs had 1:15 left in the must-win game. Hickman strung together multiple completions which ended in a touchdown pass to Adrian Hughley from the 1-yard line with 15 seconds left in the game. The Knights would attempt a Hail Mary pass that fell incomplete to end the game. 

Justin Elder is 45-46 in his fifth season at Upson-Lee. He played quarterback for Mary Persons and his wife Alicia is the assistant superintendent in Monroe County.