The Long County Blue Tide football team will have a week to rest up before they begin play in Region 1-AAA, but they will do with an 0-6 record. The Tide traveled to St. Simons’ Island to take on the Frederica Academy Knights, but came back to Ludowici with a 31-7 loss.
The Knights, who are two years off a GISA AAA state championship, showed their discipline on the first drive of the game as they took over at their own 35 after a Tide punt on their first possession. They got to up around midfield after a 10-yard completion.
Frederica looked to pass again and the ball was nearly picked off by senior linebacker Jayven Williams. The Tide defense could not use this momentum to come up with a stop, however. The Knights got down to the Tide 25 and eventually connected on a long pass down their sideline to the three-yard line. They punched it in on the next play and went 7-0 early in the game.
The next defensive stand for the Tide looked like it was going to be one of the biggest for the team in the game. After the Tide offense got to midfield, their drive stalled as they punted. Dwayne Rowe’s punt rolled down to the one and the Knights took over there.
The Tide thought they had came up with a safety three different times before the Knights looked to punt out of their own endzone. However, an unsportsmanlike penalty against the Tide gave the Knights 15 extra yards up to their own 30. From there, the Knights took a ton of time off the clock and eventually found their way into the endzone after the 99-yard drive which included a big 30-yard pass to the Tide 20.
With a 14-0 deficit, the Tide defense stepped up and started to hold strong for the rest of the first half, forcing two punts late in the second quarter. They went into the locker room down by two scores.
The Tide kicked off to the Knights to start the second half and this involved one of the biggest controversies of the game. Junior kicker Chris Garcia’s ball bounced at the 10 and was seemingly touched by one of the Knights.
The ball then rolled out the back of the endzone. By rule, this would be a safety for the Tide and they would get two points and the ball back. However, even after the referee in the endzone called the safety, the ball was given to the Knights at their own 20 after a touchback was called. This was a huge momentum shift for the Knights as they handed the ball off to their running back who made one good move and raced 80 yards for the score on the first play of the second half.
The Knights got the ball back after another Tide three-and-out and went on another long drive. They worked down inside the five before punching in a fourth touchdown on the night as they made the score 28-0. They eventually connected on a 34-yard field goal to make the score 31-0 early in the fourth quarter.
On the Tide’s final possession of the game, they looked to punt even after a decent drive. The snap was nearly too high for Rowe, but he caught it and decided to take off down his sideline.
Rowe made some athletic plays and eventually found room up the middle of the field. He ended up with a 61-yard run for the touchdown, making the final 31-7 and keeping the Tide from being shut out for the first time this season.
The Tide will look to use this week off to recover and get some injuries healed before they travel to take on Appling County in the Region 1-AAA opener on Friday, October 23. The Pirates are currently 4-0 on the year and are coming off a 23-20 comeback victory over Wayne County. They will host Benedictine Academy out of Savannah next Friday.