METTER — Metter pulled out a close 24-18 win Friday night over Long County.
Blue Tide return man Deondrae Volcy fielded the opening kickoff at his own 2-yard line and jetted back for a 37-yard return, giving Long County good field position to start the game. The offense moved the ball down the field and had the ball at the Tiger 7-yard line.
Quarterback Brendon Scott dropped back for a pass and found Stephon Adderly open in the end zone for what appeared to be a touchdown. But the Blue Tide were called for a penalty, taking the six points off the scoreboard. Needing 9 yards for a first down, Long County head coach Eric McNair decided to send in Brett Blake for a field goal attempt, but Tiger defender Deshon Scott blocked the kick.
Metter was able to move the ball, but its drive ended near midfield when Blue Tide linebacker Keishawn Wagner picked off a pass attempt by Metter quarterback Aljeruade Dekle.
The Blue Tide’s next drive didn’t last long. Scott put the ball on the ground, and a Metter defender quickly falling on it.
The Tigers drove down the field and had the ball deep in Blue Tide territory. Tiger running back Shamel Johnson capped off the drive by sweeping to the right for a 17-yard touchdown. After a failed point-after attempt, Metter lead 6-0.
On the Tigers’ third possession, fullback Chis Tarver took a handoff and punched it in for a 6-yard touchdown. After another failed conversion attempt, Metter led 12-0.
After a deep kickoff by Metter, Long County had the ball at its own 20. Mixing up the runs and the passes, the Blue Tide moved down the field and had the ball first and goal on the Tigers’ 7. But after a personal foul call against Long County, the drive ended with no points for the Blue Tide, as they went in at the half down 12-0.
Metter received the ball first in the second half, and on its first possession, Johnson added his second score of the night by racing in for a 61-yard touchdown. Again, the conversion was denied by Long County, so the home team led 18-0 early in the third quarter.
After another deep kickoff, the Blue Tide began their drive at their own 20. With a crisp drive both on the ground and in the air, Long County moved down the field until Jaquarius Harrison punched in a touchdown from the 3. Blake’s conversion attempt went wide left, so the Tide were down 18-6.
Metter was forced to punt on its next series.
Long County started its drive at its own 18. The Tide moved down the field and capped off the drive with Scott dropping a pass into wide receiver Elijah Montijo’s hands for a 28-yard touchdown. After a failed conversion, the Tide trailed 18-12.
The Tigers would not be denied on their next, as they drove down the field and scored their fourth touchdown to increase their lead to 24-12.
The two teams went back and forth, with the clock now being Long County’s primary opponent.
After a big defensive stand by the Blue Tide at their own 43, the offense had another chance to put more points on the board. With precious seconds ticking away, Harrison rushed in for another touchdown. After yet another failed conversion, the Tide were down 24-18 with 42 seconds left in the game.
The Blue Tide attempted an onside kick, but Metter found the ball and attempted to run out the clock. But after a second defensive stand and a Metter punt, the Blue Tide had the ball at their own 44 with 25 seconds to go.
Scott dropped back for a pass and sent the ball deep down the left sideline. The ball was tipped by a Tiger defender, but Long County wide receiver Jack Lauver snagged it, giving Long County a first down at the Metter 25. The Blue Tide rally ended on the next play, as a Tiger defender picked off a Scott pass in the end zone.
McNair said that despite the outcome, he was pleased that his team continued to play hard until the game ended.
“We fought hard,” he said. “In the second half, we outplayed them, but some big plays helped them out. … We must put this loss behind us and band together as a family.”
With the win, Metter improved to 3-1, while Long County dropped to 0-2.
This Friday, the Blue Tide will host their first game of the season as they take on undefeated Jeff Davis (3-0).