The Long County High School football team scored a touchdown in the final minute Friday to cap a comeback 20-13 win over Bryan County in Ludowici.
With the win, the Tide improved to 3-2 overall and 2-2 in Region 2-AA. The win also marked the first time in school history that Long County has won two 2-AA games in a season. The Tide will take a two-game winning streak into Friday’s game against Bacon County in Alma.
The Bryan County game started out as a see-saw battle. The Blue Tide scored on their first possession from Josh Berry’s short run for a touchdown. Randall Behrendt made the point-after kick and Long County led, 7-0.
But on the game’s next possession, the Redskins tied the game with a touchdown midway through the first quarter. Both defenses played well for the remainder of the first half, leading to a 7-7 halftime tie.
In the third quarter, Bryan County notched an 80-yard touchdown drive for the lead. However, the PAT went wide right to make the score 13-7.
In the fourth quarter, after a solid defensive stand that forced Bryan County to punt from deep in its own territory, the Blue Tide got the ball near midfield.
On the first play, Berry took the handoff and found a hole in the middle of the line. He then got into the secondary and found another gear to race for a 53-yard touchdown.
The Tide’s two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving the score tied at 13.
The Blue Tide defense again forced the Redskins to punt, but this time, the Bryan County special teams made a big tackle on the return man to bury Long County deep in its own territory. Long County was forced into fourth-and-9 own 7-yard line. Blue Tide punter Jeffrey Hall, kicking from his own end zone, booted the ball 67 yards, making Bryan County start at its own 33. The Blue Tide defense forced another punt, and Long County took over at its own 30 with 1:44 left in the game.
Solid runs by Turner, Berry and Vanda Vareen and a big reception by DeOnte’ Ellis, propelled the Tide downfield. With 30 seconds left, on fourth-and-6 call at the Redskins 30, Turner dropped back and rolled out to his left. As he did, tight end Luke Golden delayed at the line chipped the defender in front of him. Golden ran a short out pattern, and Turner threw across the field to Golden, who caught the ball and dove close to the Redskins 24. A measurement proved the ball just made the mark for a first down for Long County. On the next play, Turner found Ellis racing down the left sideline and passed the ball to him for the touchdown. Behrendt added the extra point for a seven-point Blue Tide lead with 27 seconds left.
After a fine kickoff return, the Redskins had 21 seconds to attempt a miracle. With the Blue Tide in a prevent defense, Bryan County got the ball to the middle of the field and began lateraling it to keep it alive. Finally, Hall and Nick Stock forced a fumble to end the game.
“Stalwart, stalwart, stalwart. This is not the old Long County,” Blue Tide coach Ron Flott said. “These kids dug in tonight and found a way to win. I’ve been coaching a long time, and I have never had a team fight as hard these kids did tonight to get a win. This is a great win for everyone: the school, the Touchdown Club, the community, everyone.”
Flott also praised the Redskins.
“That’s a good team over there. My hat’s off to Bryan County,” he said. “They played well, have some good players and are a well-coached team.”