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Blue Tide earns respect despite loss
Opponent was defendent state champ
R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Despite a loss Friday, the Blue Tide team gained the respect of the defending state champs, and also of the other teams in the 2-AA Region. - photo by Photo by Mike Riddle
The Blue Tide football team had to go into the unfriendly realm of Folkston this past Friday, as they were challenging opponents who had been crowned the best 2-AA team in the state in 2004, 2005 and 2006.
The Charlton County Indians were co-champs with Dublin last year as a result of a tie in the championship game.
This year, the Indians were ranked second in the state, undefeated; and had dominated every team they came in contact with — not allowing more than seven points to be scored against them.
In other words, no one was giving Long County much of a chance against Charlton, even if they were 3-1 coming into the game — no one except the Blue Tide themselves.
“We went into the game wanting our quarterback to roll out and make Charlton chase him. We wanted to give him the chance to make some big plays,” Long County head coach Kyle Wilson said.
And from the opening kickoff, big plays were the norm.
The early score was 8-7, Charlton. Then, the Indians were up 28-20. But before anyone knew what happened, the Charlton players and coaches realized they were in for a game.
Even late in the second quarter, when the Indians were up 42-20, the Blue Tide team wouldn’t quit as they scored, with seconds left in the half, to narrow the score to 42-27 at half time.  
But the second and third quarters were defined by “what ifs” for the young Blue Tide team, as mistakes kept them out of the end zone.
The experience of a championship-caliber team put two more scores on the board to win the game 54-27.
“We made too many mistakes (in the second half), two turnovers, a big penalty. These were drive stoppers — where we didn’t put points on the board, and we didn’t stop them,” Wilson said.
Despite the loss, the Blue Tide team gained the respect of the defending state champs, and also of the other teams in the 2-AA Region.
To give an idea of how dominating the Charlton defense has been, no other team has scored more than seven points against them all year.
Wilson said he was pleased with the offensive production of his team, but also said the defense has got to play better.
“We’ve got to stop someone. We can score against anyone, but we have to have better pursuit on defense and tackle better,’ he said.
For the game, quarterback Justin Boyd went 22 for 37, throwing for 229 yards with 1 touchdown and 2 picks. Tailback Prince Moody led the team on the ground with 13 carries for 43 yards and 1 touchdown.
Catching the ball, the Tide had two standouts. Ricky Rivera led the team in receptions with 10 for 71 yards and a touchdown, while Stevie Harrison led in yardage with 6 receptions for 119 yards.
Long County will have to travel again this week, as they go to Hazlehurst to take on the Jeff Davis Yellow Jackets.
While the Blue Tide now has a record of 3-2, the Yellow Jackets come into the game at 4-1. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
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