LYONS — The Long County Blue Tide football team started off the 2022 season 0-1 when they traveled to Lyons to take on the Toombs County Bulldogs. A couple of early mistakes put the Tide in a hole early that they could not dig their way out of as they fell 21-0.
Head coach Mike Pfiester, in his second year with the team, and the Tide had to wait an extra 90 minutes to kickoff due to lightning in the area. Once the two teams were finally set to kick, it was 9:30 and the Tide were lined up to receive.
Toombs recovered a pooch kick that landed just in front of Tide senior Tay Brown and caromed back toward midfield, leading to the Bulldogs’ first score.
The Bulldogs’ Gavin Hall found an open Caden Marsh to go up 7-0 with 7:11 left in the first quarter to cap the 50-yard march. Toombs converted a third-and-9 and a fourth down to keep the drive going.
Toombs County recovered after a low Tide punt snap at the Long County 20. Marsh scored on the next play to put the Bulldogs up 13-0 with 3:58 left in the quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, Brown fielded the kick and took off up his own sideline. He was hit around 40 of Toombs County and fumbled, but junior Keshawn Smith was there to make the save. Smith picked up the fumble and rumbled down to the Toombs 20.
Quarterback Zion Ervin’s sneak converted a fourth-and-1 at the 9, but the Tide couldn’t convert on fourth-and-goal from the 6-yard line.
After a short punt, the Tide took over at the Bulldogs 28, but Toombs recovered a wayward pitch at their own 31.
The Bulldogs drive reached the Tide 9, but a missed field goal left the Toombs lead at 13-0 at halftime.
The Tide turned what could have been a big play for Toombs into a big play for themselves, when punter Steven Wyatt scooped up a blocked punt and raced down the Bulldogs sideline for a first down.
The possession, though, ended on a fumble.
A low punt snap enabled the Tide to take over at the Bulldogs 12, but the Tide couldn’t take advantage of the field position.
Toombs County got the final touchdown on a 44-yard pass from Gavin Hall to Lagonza Hayward with 8:55 left in the game. Hayden Roy’s two-point conversion completed the scoring.
The Tide, however, would not go down easily.
The turf at Jacky Jones Field had been giving the Tide trouble all night as they are accustomed to playing on natural grass. Ahmari Douglas finally broke one of his long, weaving runs as he picked up 49 yards from his own 31 to the Toombs 20 on fourth and 6.
The clock kept ticking, however, and the Tide could not get into the endzone as the final horn sounded.
The Tide defense held the Bulldogs to 226 total yards of offense but the offense lost four fumbles. Toombs held Long County to 141 yards of offense.
The Tide, 0-1 for the sixth straight season, will look to get back on track as they face former region opponent and next-county rival Tattnall County in the first home game of the season on Friday, August 26.