From the onset of Saturday’s Long County vs. Pierce County game in Blackshear Saturday it was painfully clear that the Blue Tide would be no match for the Bears.
Pierce went into the important region matchup as the No. 12 AAA team in the state, according to MaxPreps.com. Long played hard, something not reflected in the 49-0 final score.
Pierce County got the ball first and take long to use Division I prospect Stetson Bennett. After moving into Long County territory with a pass-oriented drive, the quarterback found Walker Reddish open for a 27-yard touchdown. Cooper Saussy’s point after was successful.
Long County started its first drive on its own 34 yard line, but had to punt after three downs.
On Pierce’s next drive, Bennett found Jay Bethea open for a 21-yard score.
The Blue Tide began their second possession at their own 20. Facing a third and 10, quarterback Elijah Wright’s pass was picked off by Bear Dalton Malone. Shortly after the turnover Bennett found Parker Peagler open for a 37-yard score. After the PAT, Long County was down 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Blue Tide’s next offensive possession fared no better.
This time, the Bears got the ball near mid-field, but solid defense by Justin Carryl, Jonathon Elder, Micah Anderson and Gerald Williams shut down Pierce and forced a punt.
The Blue Tide’s first defensive stand must have motivated the offense and started to move the ball, despite taking possession at their own six yard line. Tripp Stapleton, who Long County brought in as quarterback, connected with Jack Lauver and Christian Bass for big receptions.
The drive stalled near the 30 after two first downs. The Blue Tide were forced to punt again.
Bennett threw two more touchdown passes in the second quarter to put the Bears up by six TDs.
Pierce County head coach Sean Peander tried to run the score up higher with a pass into the end-zone on a fourth down with less than a minute in the half. The attempt failed and the half ended with the Bears up 42-0.
In the second half, Long County got the ball first, but continued to struggle, punting after one first down. Pierce County kept offensive starters on the field for the third period, but the Long County defensive front of Kyree Coprick, Quentin Facen and Holden Riddle got pressure on Bennett. He did get one more touchdown pass, but wasn’t as efficient as earlier in the game.
Long County running back Eric Crawford and a big reception by Jamin Davis did show improvements for the Blue Tide in the second half, but the unit wasn’t able to move the ball with any consistency.
After the game, Long County head coach Eric McNair said, “We just couldn’t cover anybody all night.”
Bennet threw for 388 yards with seven touchdown passes to five different receivers. He found open men in the Long County secondary all night.
With the loss, Long County falls to 1-3-2 overall and 0-2 in Region 2-AAA. Pierce County improved to 5-2 overall and 2-0 in the region.
The schedule gets no easier for the Blue Tide. Friday they play Liberty County (6-1) in Flemington. The Panthers are ranked No. 7 in the state.
They are coming off a big 26-7 win over No. 14 Appling County and go into the game as the heavy favorite. Kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Pick up a Sunday paper to see who will win this David verses Goliath matchup.