It has been a long wait for the Blue Tide football team - 27 games to be exact - to finally get a win, but it finally happened. On Monday, September 16, the Blue Tide football team got back in the win column and did so in convincing fashion, defeating Bryan County 55-0.
The Tide and Redskins decided to move their meeting from September 6 to Monday night due to the threat of Hurricane Dorian earlier this month. The Tide did not let two weeks of not playing a football game hurt them as they dominated from the early goings of the game.
After the Tide defense forced a punt on their first drive, the offense took the field at their own 43. Wide receiver Co’tomi Cooper found room on the jet sweep and went 15 yards into Bryan County territory. Just a few players later, quarterback Dominic Roschmann found receiver Trajan Weatherspoon on a screen and he did the rest, going 30 yards for the touchdown to make the score 7-0 after the extra point from Orlando Tellez.
On the ensuing kickoff, Chris Garcia pooched a kick down the sideline and the live ball was recovered by Maurice Carter in a great play. The offense wasted little time finding the endzone again as Roschmann hooked up with senior tight end Carlos Cruz from 26 yards away to make the score 14-0.
The Tide defense forced the first of many turnovers on the night as a strip sack led to a recovery by linebacker E’ben Thomas, who nearly returned the ball for a touchdown. The offense, however, could not capitalize on the prime field position as a few mistakes and penalties led to their first and only punt of the night.
The Redskins crossed the 50 yard line for the first time in the game, but their momentum was cut short as the Tide forced another fumble, recovered by Joseph Cammack. As the second quarter began, the Blue Tide offense had the ball at the Bryan County 40. Sophomore running back Tony Phillips found room up the middle and raced into the endzone for his first, but certainly not last, touchdown of the night to make the score 20-0.
Long County’s defense forced another punt and the short kick gave the offense the ball at the Redskin 36 yard line. Cooper took a sweep up the Tide sideline and down to the 1-yard line. Phillips punched it in on the next play to make the score 27-0.
The defense made their biggest play of the game on the next drive when junior linebacker Malachi Alberic made a break on a Redskin pass and intercepted the ball, the first team interception of the season. He returned the pick 56 yards for the score, but it was, unfortunately, called back on an illegal block in the back.
Despite the penalty, the Tide offense set up shop at the Bryan 34. Four plays later, Phillips got into the endzone for his third straight touchdown, making the score 34-0 Long County.
The Tide defense got the ball back right away when Garrett Bleyman forced and recovered a fumble, the team’s fourth takeaway of the night. Again, penalties hurt the Tide as they went for the first down on a fourth and long and came up short, turning the ball over on downs.
The Redskins’ offense finally seemed to have some life in them as they drove down inside the Tide 25-yard line with under a minute to go until halftime. However, a deep pass down the sideline was cut off by Carter as he recorded his first interception on the night and the Tide’s fifth takeaway of the night. What happened next was history.
The Tide offense was backed up at their own 6-yard line and were looking to just take the 34-0 lead into the locker room for halftime. However, Phillips had other plans as he took the handoff, bounced it to the left and was off to the races for a 94-yard touchdown. The run was the longest offensive play in team history and gave the Blue Tide a 41-0 lead at the half.
With a running clock in the second half, the Tide were content with trying to run out the clock and get out with the win. The faced a third and long from their own 30 and that is when freshman Quintin Golden made his appearance. He took a jet sweep handoff and raced 70 yards for a touchdown in what would be the last big play for the Tide on offense as they took the 48-0 lead.
The last big play for the Tide came late in the third quarter. Sophomore Xavier Kent made a great play on a tipped pass and he intercepted the ball and waltzed in from 30 yards out to make the score 55-0, the biggest margin of victory for the Blue Tide in history. 55 points is also the most points scored by the team in a game, a record that was set in 2006 in the Tide’s first ever victory, a 51-14 win over Glascock County.
On the night, Phillips led the team in rushing as he went for 162 yards and four touchdowns in just the first half. Roschmann was 10-13 with 105 yards and two touchdowns. Weatherspoon caught seven passes for 71 yards and a touchdown, while Cruz caught two passes for 37 yards and a score. Golden ran twice for 69 yards and a score. The team finished with 298 yards on the ground and 403 total yards of offense.
Defensively, the team recorded eight turnovers. They recovered five fumbles and intercepted three passes, one which was returned for a touchdown.
The team moves to 1-2 on the year and will have a short turnaround as they travel to play the Vidalia Indians on Friday, Sept. 20.