The Long County Blue Tide football team opened their 2019 campaign on Friday, August 23 with a home game against the South Effingham Mustangs. While the team ended their night with a 62-27 loss on the scoreboard, the Tide showed vast improvements from the 2018 season.
The Tide offense struggled to get much going
in the first quarter of play and settled for punts on their first three drives
of the game. Their second punt ended in complete disaster as it was blocked and
nearly returned for a touchdown. With little room to go, the Mustangs found
their way into the endzone on their ensuing offensive play, giving them a 14-0
lead and a ton of momentum early in the contest.
Long County finally found a little momentum on
the offensive side of the ball as they put together a decent drive. Sophomore
running back Tony Phillips did a lot of the work for the Tide on the ground,
getting his team into Mustang territory.
Facing a third and one from the Mustang 33
yard line, quarterback Dominic Roschmann dropped back to pass and seemingly had
an open man down the opposite sideline. However, he missed the blitzing
linebacker and took a sack for an eight yard loss back at the 41, forcing the
Tide to punt yet again.
The Mustangs eventually built a 28-0 lead
before the Tide could finally get on the scoreboard. Their first score of the
2019 season came thanks to a big kickoff return for a touchdown.
Sophomore athlete Cameryn Johnson fielded the
ball at his own five yard line. He found a crease right down the middle of the
field and was off to the races for a 95-yard return for the touchdown, making
the score 28-6 and giving the Tide just a glimmer of hope.
The Mustangs were able to get back in the
endzone twice before the Tide would get on the scoreboard again. South Effingham
led 42-6 late in the first half before Phillips made a huge play for the Tide.
Phillips took the handoff from Roschmann,
found a few blocks and broke open a 74-yard run for a touchdown, making the
score 42-13 after the extra point by Alex Morales.
The Tide added another score just before
halftime when Roschmann found senior receiver Trajan Weatherspoon open down the
Tide’s sideline. He did the rest of the work and raced 45 yards into the
endzone, making the score 49-20 at the half.
Despite the large deficit at the half, the
Tide knew they would have to keep working hard in the third and fourth
quarters. Phillips did exactly that for the Tide as he once again found some
open room up the middle.
Phillips broke one tackle and used his speed to run 68 yards into the endzone for his second score of the night. Phillips finished the night with 194 yards and two scores for the Tide.
The Tide did lose by a final of 62-27, but
looking at their offensive production with nearly 300 total yards on the night
and over 200 on the ground, they have certainly improved from the 2018 season
to now. The team had not scored over 20 points since a 49-35 loss to New
Hampstead on September 29, 2017.
Defensively, they also did not have a bad night and will continue to improve, even with young players in the secondary and at linebacker.
Long County will now look to get better before their next matchup against the Wayne County Yellow Jackets on Friday, August 30. That game will be played in Jesup with a 7:30 kickoff.