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Tide matches up with SEB in first round
Ahmari Douglas
Ahmari Douglas runs through Butler defenders - photo by Gerald Thomas III

LUDOWICI -- Last Friday, the Long County Blue Tide football team defeated Tattnall County to clinch the three seed in the AAA state playoffs. This is especially historic as the Tide have never before made the postseason in their 24-season history dating back to 1984.

The Blue Tide (5-5), under the leadership of first-year head coach Mike Pfiester, had won two total games since 2016 heading into the 2021 season. Pfiester talked about the team getting so much done in his first year and is excited to see everyone, from the platers to the fans, get to have this experience.

“It is a great feeling to have been able to help provide our players, families, school and community a positive experience this fall,” he said. “From the minute I applied for this job I thought it was a place that was capable of having this type of success. Having been able to make so much progress in year one is very encouraging for the future of our program.”

Pfiester implemented three mantras when he arrived in Ludowici in February: #Team24, representing the 24th year of Blue Tide football and to give the team a feeling of identity, #TideFAST, an acronym standing for Fun, Accountable, Smart and Tough, and #Play11, to remind the team that their goal this year was to play an 11th game in the playoffs.

The team achieved that goal three weeks ago when it defeated Brantley County 28-19 to essentially lock up a spot in the playoffs.

However, with two games left in the regular season the team knew the job wasn’t done. The 28-22 win over Tattnall gave them five wins on the year, something that has only been done once and not since 2012, and up them to the No. 3 seed in the playoffs, potentially given the team a better match-up in the first round.

Pfiester attributed the team’s success to the “buy-in” from the kids and a good schedule with the coaching staff.

“I think we have found success this year because our coaching staff has been able to establish a consistent routine and set of expectations for our players,” Pfiester said. “The players have responded well and continued to improve every week.  The buy-in from our players has been outstanding and they are seeing the results of their hard work.”

The team’s hard work has now led them to the postseason, where a first-round meeting with the Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets awaits them.

The Yellow Jackets (9-1) from Region 3-AAA, colloquially known as the “Savannah Region”, finished the year nearly perfect, with their only loss being a 28-20 one to the eventual region champion Liberty County.

The Yellow Jackets average 32.2 points a game and allow just 8.9 points a game with three shutouts on the year. They are led by University of Central Florida wide receiver commit Tyler Griffin.

Griffin, a 6’5”, 200 pound senior, has rushed for 369 yards and leads the team with 544 receiving yards and a total of 10 touchdowns.

Sophomore running back Ahmari Douglas leads the region with 1,134 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, so the Tide will likely look to lean on him as they have most of the season.

The Tide are 0-2 all-time against the Yellow Jackets, losing 23-12 in 2010 and 27-21 in overtime in 2011.

The winner of the Long-Southeast Bulloch match-up will play the winner of the White County-Cedar Grove game on the other side of the bracket.

The Tide and Yellow Jackets will face off against each other on Friday, Nov. 12 at 7:30.




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