The Long County Blue Tide football team are still looking for their first win of the 2020 season after a tough loss to the Charlton County Indians on Friday, September 18. The Tide put up a valiant fight the whole night, only trailing 14-7 going into the locker room at halftime, but eventually fell to their former region foe 54-23.
Watching the first ten plays for the Blue Tide, you would have never thought the score was only 14-7 going into halftime. The Indians got a number of 20-plus yard plays on their first drive, including a 22-yard run by Jeff Cobb on the first play.
The Indians drove down inside the Tide 25 before Cobb found his way into the endzone from the 24 for another long run. The extra point made the score 7-0. Cobb made another great play on the ensuing kickoff, dumping the ball right over the first line’s head and causing a weird bounce and giving his team the ball at the Tide 40.
From the Tide 35, Indian quarterback Jaylen King looked deep down his sideline. But Tide junior defensive back Cameryn Johnson made an incredible play on the ball and intercepted it in the endzone, the Tide’s first interception of the season. The Tide took over at their own 20.
The Tide hoped to use some of their defensive momentum on their first offensive drive. The Tide gained nine yards and faced fourth and one from their own 29. The offense stayed on the field but quarterback Brennan Lee’s run came up barely short as the Indians too back over already in Tide territory.
After two penalties and a short run, the Indians held the ball at the 36 on a long third down attempt. King threw a screen to his left to Naajee Smith, who found just enough blocks to race down the sideline and into the endzone, giving his team a 14-0 lead early in the first quarter.
The Tide and Indians traded possessions on punts and another Tide punt gave the Indians the ball at their own 37 in the second quarter. King looked to hit a receiver over the middle but sophomore defensive back Ta’shawn Brown-Brinson made a play on the ball and intercepted it.
Two plays later, the Tide were down inside the 10. Lee hit Johnson on a 9-yard gain to the 36 and then found him again on a deep ball down the sideline for 29 yards and to set the Tide up at the seven.
Lee ran the option two plays later and pitched it out to Tony Phillips, who found his way into the endzone for the touchdown, his first score of the season. Orlando Tellez-Baltazar’s extra point made the score 14-7 with just over eight minutes to go before halftime.
The Indians went to work again and looked to add another seven to the board before going into the locker room. From the Tide 42, Cobb got the handoff up the middle and raced to the
endzone, but before he got into the endzone, Tide junior defensive back Dwayne Rowe was able to chase him down and knock the ball out of his hand, forcing it to go through the back of the endzone and give the Tide the ball at their own 20.
The Tide could not get another drive going in the first half and eventually punted back to the Indians. The Indians drove down inside the Tide 35 and it seemed they had one final shot before attempting a long fourth down. However, a pass interference call gave them another shot with just seconds left, but the Tide defense stood up and made another play to go into the locker room down only 14-7.
The Tide opened the second half with the ball but were forced to punt after a few plays. The Indians took over at their own 32. Cobb took over again as he got the Indians down to the Tide 10 in just two plays, but a penalty set them back to the Tide 20.
The Indians worked down inside the Tide five before finding the endzone again. From the four, King rolled out to the right and found Jaylen Lilly in the endzone. The missed extra point kept the score at 20-7.
It was only moments later that the Indians were back on offense. On the second play of the next drive, Johnson got the call on a sweep, but a good hit caused a fumble and Charlton County recovered at the Tide 25.
On the second play, Cobb got the call and seemed to have his forward motion stopped after just a 10-yard gain. However, he somehow eked through a host of Tide tacklers and walked into the endzone, making the score 27-7.
A three-and-out for the Tide gave the Indians the ball at their 42. They started their longest drive of the night as they worked all the way down the field on short and medium runs before King capped off the eight-play, 58-yard drive that took nearly seven minutes off the clock with a one-yard run. The Indians led 33-7 at the end of the third quarter.
The Tide offense found its feet once again in the fourth quarter. They put a drive together and finally got back in the endzone. Lee found Rowe down the middle of the field for a big 39-yard pick up. Two plays later, Lee found Johnson wide open for the touchdown, making the score 33-14.
Two plays into their next drive, the Indians saw the snap go a little high and bounce into the endzone. King recovered it, but it led to a safety for the Tide as the score stood at 33-16 with a little over 10 minutes left in the game.
The Tide got the ball back at their own 46 and got another drive going, looking to cut the score down to just a 10-point deficit. Lee found a big hole to run through and picked up 15 yards to the Charlton 35.
Lee’s next pass was just out of the reach of Rowe near the endzone and the junior quarterback was slow to get up. Brown-Brinson, an inexperienced player at the quarterback position, took the reins and was faced with a long way ahead of him after a holding penalty on the play prior.
Faced with a long third down, the Tide went to the air again. Brown-Brinson’s deep pass looked great and was nearly brought down by Johnson. However, the Indians made just enough of a play on the ball and intercepted it. They took over at the 50 after a penalty called back the long return.
Charlton County worked down inside the 10 and King hit Edward McCormick in the endzone to make the score 40-16 with just over six minutes left to play.
Three plays into their ensuing drive, the Tide had the ball ripped away from them by Jay Harris, who raced the other way for the touchdown, making the score 47-16.
Despite the score, the Tide got a little glimmer of hope for the future on the first play of their next drive. Freshman running back Ahmari Douglas got the call, against the varsity defense, and ripped off a 56-yard run, breaking 11 tackles in the process. The freshman’s impressive run made the score 47-23.
Just a few plays later, Cobb capped off his impressive night with a 53-yard run to the endzone to make the final score 54-23.
With the loss, the Tide fall to 0-3 on the year, but still know they have worked hard and improved each week. They will look to get their first win of the year as they travel to Augusta next week to take on the Butler Bulldogs, who have not played since September 4 due to cancelations by other teams because of the COVID-19 pandemic and weather-related issues.