DARIEN — When the football season began two months ago, there was a lot of optimism about Long County making the playoffs and securing its first winning season.
But the possibility of a winning season ended Friday night for the Blue Tide, and the likelihood of a playoff berth became very slim with a 25-14 loss to McIntosh County Academy.
Both defenses came out strong, not allowing either offense to score through the first two series of the game. But after a 51-yard punt return by the Buccaneers’ Simon Cummings gave the home team good field position, quarterback Dustin Anderson hit pay dirt on a 35-yard sweep. John Gregory then booted the extra point, and McIntosh County led 7-0.
After the kickoff, Long County took over at its own 25. With a mixture of runs and passes, the Blue Tide moved down the field and had a first-and-goal situation at the 4. On the next play, Jaquarius Harrison rambled in for the 4-yard touchdown, but after the failed two-point conversion attempt, Long County still trailed 7-6.
The Buccaneers got the ball back and began their drive at their own 35. The home team drove down the field again, with Eric Brown scoring from 3 yards out. The extra-point attempt by Gregory was blocked by Long County’s Tariq Carpenter, making the score 13-6 McIntosh County.
After the kickoff, Long County began its drive at its own 40. Brendon Scott hit Stephon Adderly for a 21-yard pass, and it looked like the Blue Tide would even the score. But an interception by Devon Williams gave the Buccaneers the ball back at their own 35.
The home team drove down the field again, with Jason Campbell scoring six points. Carpenter once again blocked the extra-point attempt, so McIntosh County led 19-6 at the half.
The Buccaneers received the ball first in the second half, and they picked up where they left off in the first half by scoring again. Carpenter blocked his third conversion of the night, but the home team led 25-6. After the kickoff, Long County couldn’t do anything with the ball, so the Blue Tide had to punt again.
McIntosh County took over at its own 30. But on this drive, the Blue Tide defense flexed its muscle, with Xavier Stapleton intercepting the ball to give Long County possession at the Buccaneer 29.
Tariq Carpenter then showed what he could do on offense by scoring a 5-yard touchdown. Elijah Wright punched in the two-point conversion, narrowing the Blue Tide’s gap to 25-14.
Long County continued to play hard and even drove into McIntosh County territory twice more in the second half.
But on this night, the Buccaneers were just a little too tough, as they hung on to win the region game.
With the loss, the Blue Tide fell to 3-5 overall and 2-3 in the region. With only two games left to play, LCHS is still mathematically alive in the playoff hunt. Next week, Long County plays Bryan County (4-4 overall, 4-1 region). The Redskins beat Jeff Davis 14-
7 in overtime Friday night.
In two weeks, the Tide wrap up their season against Benedictine Military School, which is currently the No. 1 AA team in the state.
So to have any chance of making the playoffs, Long County will have to win next week, and then somehow find a way to slay Goliath in two weeks.
See Wednesday’s Coastal Courier for a preview of the Bryan County game.