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Long County team wins state rec crown
Bottom left to right: Nathan Smith, Nathan Simos, Zacheus Paxton, Gage Owens, Joey Belli, Tannar Walters, MarQuise Jones, Ayden Vaughn and Daniel Kelsey. Middle row left to right: Gavin Smith, Zion Thomas, SanDejago Wilson, Braedon Mitcham, Roland Wingate, KeVin Green, R.J. Brown Jr., Wyatt Mathis. Top row coaching staff left to right: Mark Wingate, Randy Walters, Robert Brown, Shawn Smith and Adam Thomas. - photo by Photo provided.

The Long County 8U All-Star football team won the Georgia Parks and Recreation Class C state title Sunday, beating Dooley County 39-24.

"It felt amazing, overwhelming," said Shawn Smith, the head coach and offensive coordinator. "These boys worked hard and it paid off. They deserve it."

The Blue Tide advanced to the state tournament after winning the District 2 title on Nov. 16.

That tournament was held at the old Bacon County High School with games played from Nov. 11 through Nov. 16.

At the district tournament, the Blue Tide crushed Charlton County 34-0 in the first matchup Nov. 11. On Nov. 13, the Long County team beat Pierce County 25-7.

The Blue Tide entered the finals against McIntosh County Nov. 16.

The game was tied forcing overtime, and Long County won 19-18.

After winning the district trophy, the team traveled to Tift County for the state tournament.

The Blue Tide went up against Dodge County during Saturday’s game and edged out a 13-12 win to go to the finals.

In Sunday’s game, Long County played methodically and took a 26-0 lead by halftime. But Dooly fought back in the second half to close the gap. However the Blue Tide held on for the 39-24 win.

Also on the coaching staff are offensive coordinator and assistant coach Robert Brown and assistant coaches Mark Wingate, Randy Walters and Adam Thomas.

"It feels great," Brown added, and said this team accomplished more than any other team from the Long County Recreation Department by winning the district and state title. "It’s a blessing. We made history. These kids made history and I’m just so proud of our boys and the community for supporting us through our All-Star journey."

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