It had been six years since the Long County Blue Tide football team won a homecoming game, but that all changed when they hosted the Frederica Academy Knights.
The Tide built a 38-19 lead before staving off the Knights’ comeback to seal the 38-33 victory.
The Tide started off very fast on offense as sophomore running back Ahmari Douglas broke open a 50 yard run for the touchdown on the second play of the game.
This was the Tide’s first time scoring on their opening offensive drive as they took an 8-0 lead in just over a minute into the game.
The Knights took over at their own 33 and responded with a much different offensive drive.
They held onto the ball for 15 plays and six minutes and 18 seconds before finally punching it in from five yards out. Dwayne Rowe blocked the extra point to keep the score at 8-6.
The Blue Tide offense again wasted little time getting back on the board.
Three plays into their ensuing drive, Douglas breaks open a big 66-yard run to put himself over 100 yards rushing in the first quarter and more importantly give his team the 16-6 lead after the two-point conversion.
The Tide defense stepped up and forced a punt on a three and out and the Tide got the ball back at their own 27 yard line.
The Tide got near midfield before quarterback Zion Ervin dropped back to pass for the first time on the night.
He heaved a pass down the field and found junior Tay Brown wide open, who raced into the endzone for the 61-yard touchdown to give his team the 24-6 lead late in the fourth quarter.
The Knights struck back big on their next drive as do-it-all running back Jordan Tripplett, who last season led the nation for freshmen in rushing yards, took a jet sweep and found his team open down the sideline as he completed the 67-yard trick play to make the score 24-13.
On the next kickoff, Tony Phillips just missed breaking a long return as he returned the ball to the Frederica 40.
However, a sideline penalty against the Tide brought the ball back to their own 15.
The Tide worked their way down the field from deep in their own territory. Ervin looked to pass downfield but took off running and picked up yards to the Knights 45.
A facemask penalty moved the ball to the 30.
On the next play, Steven Wyatt took a handoff and ran nearly untouched 30 yards for the touchdown to make the score 32-13.
With just under three minutes in the half, the Knights took over at their own 18 and looked to cut into the Tide’s lead.
Quarterback Bryce Reilly eventually took the snap with just seconds on the clock and found TJ Jackson down the field.
Rowe just missed the interception as the pass rebounded into Jackson's hands for the touchdown.
The Tide went into the locker room up 32-19 after the missed extra point.
The Tide defense stood up to open the second half and forced a three and out.
The Tide took over near midfield after the short punt.
Just a few plays later, Douglas found his way into the endzone from 34 yards out to make the score 38-19.
The Knights went on another long drive, ticking off the rest of the clock in the third quarter before scoring from five yards out on a screen to make the score 38-26 with 10:21 left in the game.
The Tide were able to recover the onside in Frederica territory but were forced to punt after a three and out.
The Knights took over in their own territory.
The Tide defense had the Knights backed up for a fourth and two, but a long screen play to Tripplett led to a big gain to the Tide one yard line.
They finished off the drive on the next play to make the score 38-33.
The Tide again were forced to punt on the three and out and punted down to the Knights 21 with four minutes left in the game.
Down five, the Knights seemed to take their time and worked up near midfield.
Reilly dropped back as EJ Portela put pressure on him as he set up a screen.
Senior Jayson Mack made a great read on the play and intercepted the pass to seal the win for the Tide.
The Tide move to 3-3 on the year, securing their best record since 2015.
They will have a week off before hosting the Appling County Pirates on Oct. 8.
The Pirates are 6-0, ranked No. 4 in the state and are coming off a 41-7 win over Wayne County.