Ludowici, GA -- 18 times the Long County Blue Tide football team have suited up and left the field without a win over the last two seasons.
That finally changed on Friday, Aug. 27 as they rolled over the Bacon County Raiders 44-29 to get their first win under head coach Mike Pfiester.
After two punts from the Tide and one by the Raiders, it was the visitors who finally got on the board.
The Raiders set up shop at their own 30 after a good roll on a Dwayne Rowe punt and they went to work chipping away with short runs and slant passes down the field.
The Raiders found themselves inside the Tide's 30 and wasted little time finishing the drive.
A pass over the middle found its mark and the receiver broke through to get into the endzone from 26 yards out.
They led 6-0 as the extra point was no good.
The Tide offense finally got some momentum as the first quarter was coming to a close.
This came in the form of a big pass - a rare sight with the Tide’s Power T offense - as sophomore Zion Ervin hit junior running back Joe Saddler for a big 44 yard gain to the Bacon 31.
The quarter came to a close with the Tide trailing, but that did not last long.
Sophomore running back Steven Wyatt got the call on the first play of the second quarter and he hit paydirt from 20 yards out to tie the game at six.
The Tide defense stepped up big after allowing the long touchdown pass and forced the Raiders to punt on a three and out.
Rowe, who missed the first game due to Covid protocol, fielded a dangerous punt at the Bacon 45.
He broke a tackle and was off to the races down the opposite sideline for the score.
The two-point conversion made the score 14-6 in favor of the home team.
The Raiders’ offense did not go down easily after that punt return, however, as they drove down inside the Tide 30.
They were eventually faced with a fourth and short but failed to convert after a good stop by sophomore Christian Jones.
Sophomore Ahmari Douglas had a good run to the Tide 40 - certainly not his only big run of the game - before the Tide went to the passing well again.
Ervin’s pass to Saddler this time was intercepted at the Bacon 34.
The Raiders seemed to be in business with a big 51 yard pass to the Blue Tide 15. They did not gain another yard from there though and settled for a 32 yard field goal to bring the score to 14-9 with under 30 seconds in the half.
It seemed the Tide were content with going into the half up five, but junior defensive back Tay Brown had different plans.
On the ensuing kickoff, he broke one tackle and raced across midfield down to the Raiders’ 20 yard line.
Douglas put an exclamation point on the exciting second quarter with a 20 yard scamper for the score to put his team up 22-9 at the half.
The third quarter was completely dominated by the Blue Tide defense.
The Raiders started with the ball at their own 39 and drove inside the Tide 40 before dropping back to pass.
Looking to throw again, however, was not a good idea.
Rowe stepped right in front of the ball and stumbled his way to the sideline before racing off to the endzone for a 70 yard pick six to make the score 30-9.
The feeling on the Long County sideline was one that had not been felt in a very long time as the Tide built their 21 point lead.
The Tide offense got the ball back on a fourth down failure after junior defensive end EJ Portela came up with a huge sack.
The Tide drove to inside the Bacon 15 and were faced with a fourth down of their own.
They came up just short as the Raiders took over at their own 10.
The defense came up big again after the Raiders took to the air.
The pass was tipped by senior Garcia Milton and snagged by Portela, who galloped 10 yards into the endzone for the touchdown to make the score 38-9.
The crowd was electric as the third quarter came to a close with the Tide up 29, but it was Bacon County who took advantage of a few Tide mistakes.
The Raiders were faced with a fourth down and five from the Tide 20 after a pass interference kept their drive alive earlier.
The Raiders finally got back into the endzone on a 20-yard run to make the score 38-17 after the two-point conversion.
The Tide were forced to punt despite driving to Bacon County territory as the Raiders took over inside their own 15.
They were faced with a fourth and five from the 12 as they hit a slant over the middle which turned into a 78 yard touchdown to make the score 38-23 with eight minutes left in the game.
It was a little quieter on the Blue Tide sidelines as their lead shrunk from 29 points to 15 in just a matter of minutes.
However, it was Douglas who got the crowd back on their feet.
He took the handoff from 30 yards out and capped off the three minute drive with his second score of the game to make the score 44-23 with 5:11 left to go.
The Raiders managed to put one more score on the board less than two minutes later, but the Tide offense put together another beautiful drive to eat away at the clock to bring it to triple zeroes.
With the 44-29 win, the Tide move to 1-1 on the year and will travel to Folkston to take on Charlton County next Friday, Sept. 3.
The Tide have faced the Indians seven times in the past and have never defeated them, but will look to change that next week.