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Tide hold off Saints, still perfect on season

LUDOWICI, GA -- The Long County Lady Blue Tide flag football team is rolling along in their inaugural season and they may have just faced their toughest challenge to date when they defeated the St. Vincent’s Academy Saints on Thursday, Oct. 21 by a score of 27-18. 

The Lady Tide started off the game hot and it looked like they might be in line for another blowout following Tuesday’s 40-0 win over Claxton. 

On the first drive of the game facing a third down from their own 26, sophomore quarterback Kyleigh Sizemore hit fellow sophomore Amiyah Simpkins, who had just gotten behind the Saints defense and then completed the 54 yard pass for the 6-0 lead early in the game. 

The Tide defense forced a punt on the next drive and got the ball back at their own 31. Sizemore hit senior Makayla Raimer with a big 17-yard gain, but the Tide eventually turned the ball over on downs at the Saints 32. 

The Saints faced fourth down twice, but were able to pick them up both times. They then picked up 33 yards on a long pass down to the Tide five as the home team was in danger of allowing their first points of the season. 

The Saints were given the ball down at the one yard line after a personal foul on the Tide and they converted to tie the score at six with one minute left in the half. 

The Tide punted back to the Saints on their next drive and they went to work from the Tide 33. They only needed two plays to get into the endzone, picking up all 33 yards through the air to take a 12-6 lead, the first time the Tide have trailed all year, with four seconds left on the clock. 

Four seconds was all Sizemore needed, however, as she found a wide open senior Jada Freeman down the Saints sideline. Once she was in open field, there was no catching the Tide track star at that point as she raced 66 yards for the touchdown to tie the game at 12. 

The Tide went for the one-point try with no time on the clock and Samaria Harris was able to make two good moves and sneak into the endzone to give her team the 13-12 lead. 

Simpkins decided to take over for the Tide defense on the first play of the second half. She made a good play on the first pass of the second half and snagged an interception and returned it to the Saints 17. 

Sizemore found Raimer down to the five on a 12 yard pick up and then completed the drive with a pass to KeOsha McKeever to give her team the 20-12 lead after the one point conversion. 

 The Saints offense looked to make up the eight point difference and went back to the air. They got a big pass down to the Tide 28 on the second play for a 38-yard gain. 

They went to the air again, but Simpkins again made another play on the ball and got her second interception of the game. The Tide took over at their own 23. 

McKeever broke open a big run and picked up 37 yards to the Saints 20 to set up a first and goal. An unsportsmanlike penalty on the Saints put the ball at the 10. 

The Saints came up big on defense though as they intercepted a Sizemore pass and set up shop on their own nine. However, on the next play, McKeever intercepted a pass that was tipped by a Saint receiver and gave her team the ball at the 13. 

The Tide went to the ground to work the clock, but Raimer had other plans. She found room down the Saints sideline and got into the endzone to complete the 21-point scoring bonanza to put the Tide up 27-12 with six and a half minutes left to go in the game. 

The Saints and Tide traded turnovers on fourth down, the former of which saw freshman Kelly Stokes make a big pass break up on fourth down. 

The Saints were able to score from a yard out to make the score 27-18, but it was too little too late with just 22 seconds left in the game. 

The Tide held on to move to 3-0 on the year. They will face another big challenge on Monday, October 25 as they travel to Savannah to face off against Calvary Day. 

The Cavaliers won the inaugural 1A-5A state championship last season and are ranked as one of the best teams in the state. 

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