For more than 42 minutes Thursday night, Long County held its own against Metter High School (7-3), even nearly taking the lead at one point, but with less than 6 minutes in regulation the Tigers scored twice to pull out a 14-0 win.
Playing in Ludowici, the defensive chess match was a stalemate in the first period no offense on either side.
In the second quarter, however, with the Blue Tide at their own five, tailback Brendon Scott took a handoff from quarterback Dylan Stewart swept around the left side for a 43-yard run. Two plays later, Long County called a mis-direction trap to Keishawn Wagner who rambled 24 more yards. Vanda Vereen Jr. then took a handoff another 16 yards and the Blue Tide had the ball deep in Tiger territory.
With the ball at the six on second and two, Long County head coach Ron Flott called on Scott’s number again. The sophomore hit the left corner, scoring an apparent touchdown. But before the points were on the board, a yellow flag called the Tide for holding, nullifying the points and backing the ball up.
After the foul, the Tide couldn’t punch the ball in and three plays later the Tigers had the ball back.
Led by Ramonie Farlow, Armando Toledo, Nick Stock and Mykoel Stanley the Long County defense continued to punish the Metter team and at the half the game was still scoreless.
In the third quarter the Tigers took the opening possession and kept the ball for nearly seven minutes, driving to the Long County 25 yard line. But on an inside run the Tide defense forced a fumble and Randall Berhrendt recovered.
Long County had to punt three plays later. The game stayed scoreless until Tiger halfback Chris Tarver scored from 23 yards out with less than six minutes left in the game. The PAT failed.
The Blue Tide took possession on their own 20, but were unable to move. On Metter’s next drive, quarterback Steve Kelly scored and Tarver added the conversion to seal the win.
“Every one of you can keep your head up after that effort,” Flott said to his team after the game. “You can control what you can control, and then there’s things you can’t control, that’s the message of this game and a message for you for the rest of your life.”
Later, the coach said, “I couldn’t be more proud of these guys. You know it’s one thing to stick around and play for a Valdosta or Lowndes or a Camden County, but these kids are still here because they care and they love football … I love them all like sons.”
With the loss, the young Blue Tide team finished the year 2-8. Long athletic director Karen Swindell said she was optimistic for the team because of its successes this year.
Thursday also was senior night for Long County; pick up a Wednesday paper to find out who was recognized. The game also was the Blitz Game of the Week and can be seen today at 11 a.m. on WSAV.