After three back-to-back games where they faced top-15 AAA teams in the state, the Long County football team finally play an opponent more on their level.
On Friday, in front of their hometown fans, the Blue Tide take on an old nemesis in Tattnall County.
Long County takes a 1-4-2 overall record into the game, while the Battle Creek Warriors bring a 3-5 mark. Neither team has won a region game this year.
Though Long and Tattnall are both winless in Region 2-AAA, neither has been eliminated from the playoffs. Liberty County (7-1) and Pierce County (6-2) have secured the two top spots in the region with 3-0 records, but the third and fourth spots are still undetermined with Brantley County (5-2) being 2-1, Appling County (4-3) at 1-2, and Long County and Tattnall sitting at 0-3. However if Long or Tattnall wants to make the post-season, Friday’s game is a must win.
On paper, the Blue Tide and the Battle Creek Warriors appear to be fairly evenly matched. According to MaxPreps.com, Tattnall sits at No. 34 in the state and Long is at No. 43 in the AAA rankings.
When comparing common opponents, both the Warriors and the Blue Tide were beaten by Pierce County and Liberty County. But in their games against Bradwell Institute the Warriors lost 30-20, while the Blue Tide played the Tigers to a 22-22 tie.
One area where Tattnall County does appear to be the better team is in scoring. The Warriors are averaging 27 points a game, compared to the Blue Tide mustering 17 points a night.
On the defensive side of the ball, the teams appear more evenly matched with Tattnall giving up 24 points a contest, compared to Long giving up 32 points.
Looking back at history, the Warriors have dominated the series, holding a 6-0 mark, but in recent years the games have been close with Tattnall County squeaking out a win last year 21-14.
In addition to Friday’s game having playoff implications for the Blue Tide and the Warriors, it also will end one of the two teams three-game losing slumps.
If the Blue Tide is going to pick up their first series win against the Battle Creek Warriors, the offense will need to move the chains and find the end zone more often than they have this season.
In addition to the offense stepping it up, the defense will also need to bring back the swagger they showed earlier in the year. In Long County’s first four games, the defense allowed only 19 points a night, compared to them giving up 49 points a night over their last three games.
Friday night is also Senior Night for Long County with graduating players, cheerleaders and band members being recognized. The game is scheduled to start at 7:30. Pick up a Sunday paper to find out if the Blue Tide were able to keep their playoff hopes alive.