October 14, 2011

Taylor, Deloach looking ahead

It's been known since June that the Jenkins County defensive duo of Jonathan Taylor and James Deloach will be moving onto the next level together as Bulldogs, but before they can do that, they still have their senior season to play.

The talented twosome played their last home game last Friday and was able to celebrate their senior night together.

Even though they weren't able to pull out a win, dropping the game to Montgomery County, 19-14, Taylor recounted the experience with fondness.

"There were a bunch of moments. We were coming out and we were running through our tunnel, I was like, 'wow, this is our last time running through the tunnel this year. I'm a senior, I'm about to go, oh man,'" Taylor said. "It means a lot, because even though I know it's my last, it's my senior night in high school, I can look forward to another senior night in college."

Deloach said that reaching these milestones might be signaling the end of their high school careers, but it also means it is the beginning of the next step-one he is happy they will take together.

"It feels good, knowing that you got somebody, someone you've played with, somebody that has your back," Deloach said. "Otherwise you'd be a stray dog in a new habitat or something."

Taylor, who rivals ranks as the top Peach state target and No. 6 at his position nationally, recorded two sacks, a forced fumble, and 10 tackles in the contest.

Deloach, who had been sidelined with an ankle injury the past two games, came back with a dominant performance of his own, notching eight tackles and a sack.

Deloach said he thinks the combination of finally getting back out on the field, as well as it being senior night, really spurred him to play one of his best games yet.

"I did really well. It was really good, I had a lot of energy and I played really good. I feel like I was able to show my boys because it was senior night," Deloach said. "I felt like I had another gear because it was senior night, like I was more hyped up."

It wasn't until he heard his name being called over the loud speakers and took to the field with his parents by his side that Deloach said it really hit him that it would be his last home game. After the game, he took it upon himself to gather everyone after the game to let them know how proud he was.

"We were together and talked a little bit before the game, and then after the game I got everyone in and stuff, and was like 'we all played good and played hard and it's our senior night. Even though we lost, everyone played hard and good,'" Deloach said.

Jenkins Country must win their next two games to make the playoffs. Either way, they both know the time has almost come to move on and Taylor said he's been watching the Dawgs as part of his preparation for his arrival.

"Every time I see Georgia play I'm like, I'm going to be going there, and I'm going to be playing there next year. So I'm going to have to get used to the fans, used to how they react and all that stuff," Taylor said. "I like playing in front of those crowds because they get me amped, they get me amped up, knowing everyone is cheering for you and stuff. It makes you feel all good inside."

Taylor said he will be trying to make all three of Georgia's remaining home games, and Deloach said, at least for now, he will be shooting to each make the Auburn game, and perhaps some other games depending on circumstances. They both plan to take their official visit in December for the banquet.

Both standouts are currently focusing on finishing the season strong, but it's not without small distractions. They said they are still getting mail and being contacted by other programs, but Taylor certainly isn't sweating it.

"Other programs want me to decommit but I'm not going to decommit, I'm with Georgia," Taylor said. "I made my commitment, this is my school, I made my choice so my choice for me is final."

Jenkins County (1-6) will be wrapping up the regular season at Portal (3-3) this Friday and against Emanuel County Institute (6-1) on Oct. 21.

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