On Friday, Long County High School kicks off the 2017 football season by hosting Island’s High School (0-1) in Ludowici.
Last year was a disappointing one for the Blue Tide as they were able to post only a 1-6-2 record after going into the season with high hopes. The dismal season resulted in former head coach Eric McNair stepping down, and the hiring of former Appling County head coach J.T. Pollock.
With Pollock’s arrival, also came a new coaching staff, a new offense, a new defense and a new attitude.
Pollock brings in an impressive resume that post an 89-49-2 record over 12 seasons with the Pirates. But that was then and this is now. Pollock takes over a Long County football program that has been able to put up only 9 wins over the last four seasons and that has a 28-89-2 mark since its inception in 2004.
Pollock said that his team will be using the "Shotgun/Wing T" which offers many different options but focuses on misdirection plays. He said the primary defense that the Blue Tide will be using is the 4-2-5 which uses four down linemen, two linebackers, and five defensive backs. This defense is basic and easy to comprehend by players, but is also dependent on speed.
Though Friday’s will be Long County’s first game of the season, Island’s High School is coming off a disappointing 20-0 loss to Calvary Day last week.
This is the Sharks’ fourth year of playing varsity football so their program is still in its pilot stages. But after posting identical 1-9 records in 2014 and 2015, last year Island’s showed improvement, posting a 4-7 mark.
Fortunately for Long County one of those losses was at the hands of the Blue Tide by a score of 22-12.
This year the Blue Tide have only 61 boys on their roster and that includes underclassmen. But of those players, 21 are seniors, so, the team does have experience.
Pollock said, "The defensive line we are looking at is Dazon Mills, Marquise Bacon and Eben Jones working at ends, with the interior being manned by Quanilius Bacon, Brandon Edwards, Jashaun Cochran, Quintin Facen, Chris Perez, and Nick Walthire. Our linebacking crew is Mikiya Folston Anderson, Jalen Bryant, Deshaun Dixon, Michael Maldanado, Gavin McNeel and Gabe Kelly, with the cornerback position being covered by J.J. Elder, Kendall Lovett, and Anthony Jones.
Working at safeties are Cody Cox, Treon Davis, Jashon Carter, Ryhim Izzard, and Noah Ellison.
"Offensively, the OL is being played by Lorenzo Buckner, Isaac Abram, Reece Wigal, Joey Guadelupe, Chris Robinette, Bowen Smiley, Garrett Bleyman, Hunter McPherson and Kai Loehnert. The tight ends and H-Back position are being manned by Christian Bass, Hunter Sizemore, Carlos Cruz and David Sikes. And our receiving crew consists of Tavon Anderson, Jamel Sloan, Travon Phillips, William Wright, Jordan Ostrom, Matthew Rogers, and Jake Hester."
Pollock added, "The running backs will be headed up by E.J. Crawford, Jarvis Dudley, and Maurice Carter, while working at quarterback is Bryce Stafford, Dominic Roshman and Xavier Carlton, our kicking duties are shared by Ormondo Onco and Alex Maldanado."
Other players who will be filling in as needed are Anthony Smith, Abram Hatfield, Dakota Wood, Nevin Smith, Christian Abiliera, Karon Hawkins, Troy Balsinger, Ricardo Flores, Anthony Polk, Jerome Carter and Holden Riddle.
Friday’s game is at Veteran’s Stadium in Ludowici with the kickoff at 7:30 p.m.