The Long County Blue Tide football team has not had that great of luck with weather this season.
The team welcomed in the Vidalia Indians Thursday night after the game was moved up a day due to the impending threat of Hurricane Florence. It seemed that the Tide needed that extra day to prepare as the Indians left Ludowici with a 35-6 victory.
The Indians, who have still yet to taste defeat after their dominant win over Long County, opened up the game with a nice return to the Blue Tide 47. Running back Chris Gay had the first run of his big night as he raced 24 yards to the Tide 23.
The Tide made a big play in the backfield as Michael Maldonado recorded a tackle for a two-yard loss back to the 25. The Indians got a break however as they pushed up to the 20 and were given ten extra yards after a facemask penalty. Gay eventually found his way into the endzone to make the score 7-0 early in the first quarter.
Long County started their first offensive drive of the game from their own 36 and went on arguably their best drive of the season.
Quarterback Treyon Davis found running back Jaylen Bryant wide open and he zipped 15 yards into Vidalia territory. Davis kept the ball on the next play and ran down to the 39 for another first down.
The Tide faced a fourth and three inside the 30, but the Indians jumped offsides and gave the Tide a new set of downs. The Tide eventually faced a fourth and long from inside the 20.
The offense elected to go for it rather than try a nearly 40-yard field goal, but their trick play fell just short of the mark, giving the ball back to the Indians on downs.
Gay had found a lot of room to run down the Indians sideline, but it was called back to a block in the back. He found that same room again and galloped 16 yards.
Vidalia started to eat away at the clock and found themselves in Tide territory. Gay broke out into open space at the 43 and raced to the Tide 16 to put the Indians in scoring position again. Gay capped off the drive with his second score of the night to give his team a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Tide were forced to punt on a three and out on their next drive and the Indians went back to work on offense.
Fullback Rodney Wardlaw got in on the action as he pounded up the middle for a 30-yard gain to the Tide 22. Carson McClellan put in the third score of the night from three yards out, giving the Indians a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter.
The Tide again were forced to punt on a three and out and freshman punter Jacob Seal continued to prove his worth with a monster 45 yard punt. The Indians took over at their own 38.
Quarterback Marc Wardlaw hooked up with fullback Wardlaw and he rumbled his way down to the Tide 45. The larger Wardlaw finished off the drive with a 45 yard plunge up the middle to give Vidalia a 28-0 lead midway through the quarter.
The Tide were once again forced to punt despite a decent run by Bryant on the drive. It seemed the Blue Tide might have gotten their biggest break after the Vidalia return man fumbled the punt. After the ball bounced around a bit, the Indians eventually recovered at the Long County 48.
The Tide were determined not to let the Indians get in the endzone again and got back to quarterback Wardlaw on a sack by Travon Phillips. However, Gay eventually dove his way into the endzone from a yard out to give the Indians a 35-0 lead at the half.
Long County elected for a running clock in the second half and it came at the right time as there were some technical difficulties with the scoreboard. Neither team found the endzone in the third quarter.
The Blue Tide eventually went on another good drive late in the fourth, which was helped by some Vidalia late hit penalties. The Tide finally found the endzone as Kendall Lovett got into the endzone for the first time this season. The missed extra point made the final score 35-6.
The loss was the Tide’s fourth of the year and the team’s 19th straight dating back to the 2016 season. This is tied for the team’s second-longest losing streak, mimicking the one between the 2010 and 2011 seasons. The team lost 32 straight between 2002 (its first season as a full varsity squad) and 2005.
The Blue Tide will host Bradwell Institute next Friday, Sept. 21, in what should be an exciting rivalry game.
The last two meetings between the two teams have come down to the wire with a 22-22 tie in 2016 and a 10-7 last-second victory for the Tigers in 2017.