The Long County football team will wrap up its 2016 season Friday on the road against Brantley County.
The Blue Tide are 1-5-2 overall and 0-4 in Region 2-AAA, while the Herons sit at 5-3 overall and are 2-2 in the region. Brantley County has secured the third spot in the region, but will be looking to end the regular season with confidence by beating Long County.
Though the Blue Tide won’t be going into the playoffs this year, they would still like to upset the Herons and notch their first region win of the year.
On paper Brantley County goes into the contest as the clear favorite. According to MaxPreps.com, the Herons are 20 spots higher than the Blue Tide in the state AAA rankings. When comparing common opponents Brantley also appears to have the edge, having beaten Tattnall County and
Appling County, while Long County fell to both. Both Long and Brantley lost to the top two teams in the region, Liberty County and Pierce County.
Another area where the Herons appear to be the better team is in scoring. Brantley County is averaging 31 points a game, compared to Long County putting up 16 points a night. On the defensive side, the teams are about as evenly matched as they can be with both giving up 32 points a game.
Looking back, the Herons also have the edge over the Blue Tide, winning 2-6. The last time the teams met, in 2011, Long County lost in a 32-26 dogfight. Both teams are coming off disappointing losses as Brantley County lost last week to Liberty County 49-14, and Long County lost to Tattnall County 34-10.
If the Blue Tide have any chance at an upset, they will have to do better than they did last week when the offense gave up five interceptions to the Battle Creek Warriors. To do this, Long County will need to take the pressure off quarterbacks Tripp Stapleton and Elijah Wright by finding a running game. But a running game has not been easy to find this year as the Blue Tide is averaging only 67 yards of rushing per night.
Another key to Long County pulling out the win is by having its defense create turnovers and not giving up big plays for scores. If the Herons are to score, the Blue Tide needs to make them work for the points.
The game is in Nahunta and it starts at 7:30. Pick up a Sunday paper to find out if Long County was able to notch their first 2-AAA win in school history.