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Long drops region opener to Pirates
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The Long County Blue Tide football team knew they had a tough challenge ahead of them in their first game Region 1-AAA game of the 2020 season when they traveled to face off against the sixth-ranked Appling County Pirates. It was an inauspicious beginning for the Tide as they fell to the Pirates 69-12 on Friday, October 23. 

The Pirates scored early and often in the first quarter against the Tide. Their defense got them on the board first as they intercepted a tipped pass off freshman quarterback Zion Ervin just two plays into the game and ran it back for the score to go up 7-0 ten seconds into the game. 

They got their next big play on special teams as their returner found room down the Tide sideline and raced inside the 15. After a horsecollar penalty, the Pirates set up inside the five and punched it in on the next play to go up 14-0. 

On the Tide’s next drive, Ervin’s pass was intercepted again as the Pirates got down inside the Tide 10. They got into the endzone on a dive play just two plays later and were up 21-0 with still nine minutes left to play in the first quarter. 

The Tide lined up for their second punt of the night after gaining just a few yards. A dropped snap doomed the Tide as the Pirates were able to tackle the punter in the backfield at the 15. The Pirates were able to find their way into the endzone again three plays later and took a 28-0 lead. 

Long County was forced to punt and this time they were able to get the punt off. However, the returner found room to run again and took off down his sideline. The cannons fired again as the Pirates took the 35-0 lead. 

The next offensive drive for the Tide was when the Long County faithful got a glimpse of the future. 

Ervin showed why he will be a player to watch in the coming years. From his own 22, Ervin dropped back to pass and found a wide open Cameryn Johnson down the middle of the field. The freshman heaved a beautiful pass to Johnson, who raced the rest of the way for the touchdown. The score stood at 35-6 as the extra point was blocked. 

The next play for the Pirates immediately took the air out of the Tide’s sails again as they found wide open spacing for a long 80-yard run on a counter. This made the score 42-6 with just over a minute left to play in the first quarter. 

The Tide and Pirates traded possessions on punts before Appling County finally went on an extended drive down the field. They took three minutes off the clock before they found themselves on the board again, making the score 48-6 in the second quarter. 

Long County looked to get back on the board, but Ervin was sacked and fumbled. The Pirates recovered inside the 15. They scored a few plays later to take their lead to 55-6 with just over a minute left until halftime. 

The Pirates continued to try and put points on the board as they got the ball back on a punt and called two timeouts to stop the clock. They eventually got into the endzone to make the score 62-6 at halftime. 

The second half was much quieter for the Pirates. For the Tide, however, the fans got another show as freshman running back Ahmari Douglas electrified his team with an impressive kickoff return for a touchdown. That score brought the final to 69-12. 

With the loss, the Tide fall to 0-7 and 0-1 in the region. Next week, they will host the Brantley County Herons, also 0-7 on the year. This game is the most important game in Tide history as the winner will likely shore up a playoff spot. 

The Tide have never been to the playoffs so a win would be huge for them. The game on Friday, October 30 will also be homecoming for the Blue Tide. 

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