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Blue Tide smash Johnson, earn playoff spot
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The Long County Blue Tide football team went into their Week 12 matchup against the Johnson Atomsmashers knowing it was a win-or-stay home scenario. It was a tale of two halves as both teams ended the second quarter without points, but the Tide eventually pulled away to clinch their best season in team history, beating Johnson 38-14.

With the win, the Blue Tide (6-4 overall, 4-3 in Region 3-AAA) claim the region’s final playoff spot and will travel to Harlem to take on the Region 2 champion Bulldogs on Saturday.

Three straight three and outs opened the game as neither offense could get rolling in the first half. The Blue Tide had a third-and-goal from the Atomsmashers 3-yard line with 15 seconds left in the half, but a penalty and a loss pushed them back for a fourth-and-goal attempt.

Zion Ervin’s pass to Keshawn Smith fell incomplete, and the game remained 0-0 at halftime.

TheTide finally broke the seal and opened up a 52-point second half. Ervin hit Ahmari Douglas on a swing pass to the right and he did the rest of the work, breaking and avoiding tackles on his way to a 61-yard touchdown, the longest passing touchdown of the season.

Johnson responded on a 41-yard TD run. After Johnson recovered a Blue Tide fumble at the Long County 46, the Tide defense held.

On the offense’s next play, Douglas took the handoff to the right and cut back all the to the Tide sideline and raced 77 yards for the touchdown.

The long run officially gave Douglas the Tide’s single season rushing yards record, breaking running back coach Chip Scott’s record set back in 2014 and more importantly, it gave the Tide a 16-6 lead with 7:15 left in the third quarter.

That long run seemed to be all the momentum the Tide needed.

Ervin found Smith again as he caught a post route for a 57-yard gain, setting up a first-and-goal at the 2.

Douglas scored again as the Tide went up 22-6 with 2:35 left in the quarter.

On third and 7 at the Johnson 28, Ervin found Smith again, this time for a touchdown strike over the middle, as the Tide went up 30-6 with less than 10 minutes left to play.

The Atomsmashers cut the lead to 30-14 on an 8-yard touchdown pass with 8:05 to play.

With help from Noah Range’s sack, the Tide defense forced a turnover on downs at the Johnson 26, and

Douglas got the call from the 11 a few plays later and flipped into the endzone for the final score as the Tide went up 38-14 with less than two minutes on the clock.

With the win, the Tide finish the regular season 6-4, the best record in team history, and make the playoffs for the second year in a row and only the second time in school history.

Kickoff Saturday at Harlem will be at 7 p.m.


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