For the second week in a row, Long County ended its football game in a deadlock, tying Bradwell Institute 22-22 Friday in Ludowici.
Though neither team lost, after the game it appeared that both sidelines were not happy, knowing that each respective team had opportunities to pull out the victory.
The game began with both teams’ defenses dominating the other’s offense. Neither offense was able to move the ball during their first two possessions, resulting in each team punting.
On the Tigers’ third possession, they were again forced to punt from their own 36 yard line. However the first break of the game went Bradwell’s way when Long County’s return man dropped the punt and the Tigers recovered it.
A personal foul was also called on the Blue Tide, so Bradwell had the ball at Long County’s 12. The drive ended when Tiger tailback Christian Evans pounded in the 1-yard touchdown. Delano Blue’s extra point was good.
On the ensuing kickoff, Deondrae Volcy gave the Blue Tide great field position, scampering 56 yards to the Tiger 34. Shortly after this Long County quarterback Tripp Stapleton hit wide-receiver Jamin Davis for a 30-yard touchdown. Aron Nevarez’s extra point was good tying the game.
Bradwell got the ball back, but after a big sack by M’Kiyah Folston the Tigers were forced to punt.
The Blue Tide began their offensive possession at their own 33. Wide receiver Jack Lauver made a big reception for 16 yards. A defensive pass interference penalty was also called on Bradwell, giving Long County the ball on the Tigers’ 45.
Tariq Carpenter caught a pass from Stapleton to give the Blue Tide a first down at the 25. Four plays later Stapleton’s pass was picked off by the Tigers at their own 20.
Both Long County and Bradwell’s defense dominated the next two possessions.
After a Blue Tide punt, the Tigers got the ball back at their own 12 yard line. With a power run drive, the visitors moved down the field. A Long County defender drew a flag for a horse-collar tackle, and Bradwell had the ball deep in Blue Tide territory.
Evans took a handoff and ran in for what appeared to be a 28-yard score, but a holding penalty against the Tigers took the points off the board. At the half, the score was still tied up.
In the second half, Long County’s Elijah Wright came in as quarterback. On a misdirection fake handoff, Wright rumbled 68 yards to the Bradwell 3. Two plays later, the Tigers’ Kenneth Lockhart picked off a pass by Wright to give Bradwell the ball again. Unable to move, the Tigers punted from their own end zone.
Once again having good field possession, Stapleton was back behind center. Facing a second and long, Stapleton found Lauver open for a 40-yard touchdown. Nevarez’s extra point was good and the Blue Tide were up 14-7.
On Bradwell’s next possession its offense bogged down just across midfield. The Tigers punted and with great coverage by their special teams unit Long County was backed up to their own 2 yard line. Four plays later the home team was forced to punt.
The kick was shanked, and Bradwell had the ball at the Blue Tide 10. Two plays later Evans scored on a run up the middle. Tiger head coach Greg Hill decided to go for two instead of one on the conversion. This time Evans ran to the right hitting pay dirt again to put Bradwell on top 15-14.
Long County got the ball back after the kickoff, but once again had to punt.
The Tigers took got the ball at their own 24 yard line but coughed it up. Blue Tide Gerald Williams fell on it to give the home team possession at the Tigers’ 40.
Long County’s drive stalled at Bradwell’s 25, so head coach Eric McNair decided to go for a 42 yard field goal.
On the kick, the Tigers’ special team blocked the kick and got possession.
Bradwell’s runners moved to inside the Blue Tide 20. Corth Nelson took a handoff and swept to the left for a 19-yard touchdown. Blue’s extra point was good and Bradwell led 22-14.
Long County took the kickoff at their own 34 with less than a minute to play. After two incomplete passes, Stapleton found tight-end Christian Bass wide open. He raced 64 yards before being tackled at the Tiger 2.
After two quarterback keepers, one when Stapleton fumbled but recovered the ball, the Blue Tide was still at the 2 with eight seconds left.
On an attempted run off tackle, the Long County runner fumbled and the ball shot into the end zone. Players from both teams dove for the pigskin and offensive lineman Quaineilus Bacon came up with the prize and the TD.
The Blue Tide were still down by 2. Lining up in the shotgun Stapleton took the snap, and scanned the field. With all other receivers covered, Stapleton found Bass open, threw the ball into the end zone and Bass’ catch tied the game 22-22 with 2 seconds left. Long County squib-kicked the ball as time expired.
After the game, McNair said the game was allowed to end in a tie because it was a non-region game. Before a non-region game, the coaches and officials have to agree to play overtime. He said the meeting was overlooked Friday, so the game automatically ended in a tie.
With the tie, Long County’s record is 1-1-2 and Bradwell’s is 1-2-1. Neither team has played a region game yet.
Next week is the open week for the Blue Tide. The Tigers will be at home taking on Lakeside High School (0-4).