Long County knocked Jeff Davis from ranks of the unbeaten Friday with a solid 20-17 win in Ludowici.
“The guys fought all night long. They made Jeff Davis fight and claw for everything that they got,” Long County head coach Eric McNair.
In Long County’s first two games, the Blue Tide lost one by seven points and the other by six points. McNair talked about how each of their games going down to the wire is helping his team improve.
“Our maturity level is coming up, and we’re growing as a football team. Every time we have a close game, that’s when we really start executing,” he said.
With the win, the Blue Tide moved to 1-2 overall and 1-0 in Region 2-AA. Jeff Davis dropped to 3-1 and 0-1.
On the Blue Tide’s first possession, punting from their own 30-yard line, the snap on the punt attempt went awry, with the ball flying over punter Tripp Stapleton’s head into the end zone. Stapleton smartly fell on the ball, but was tackled, giving the Yellow Jackets a safety and an early 2-0 lead.
In the second quarter, on Long County’s third possession, the snap to the punter again went high, but this time Stapleton was able to get the punt off. However, it was partially blocked, giving Jeff Davis excellent field position on the Blue Tide 39. But the home team’s defense held its ground and forced a punt.
Using a run-oriented drive, Long County moved down the field on its next possession, culminating with Jaquarius Harrison scampering in from 12 yards out. Kicker Brett Blake split the upright with his extra-point kick, and the Blue Tide led 7-2.
Later in the quarter, the Yellow Jackets got a 65-yard reception to put them at the Long County 15. Three plays later, Jeff Davis’ Gage Waters made a touchdown catch and, after a successful 2-point conversion, the Yellow Jackets led 10-7 at the half.
In the third quarter, Jeff Davis’ Alex Sanders finished off a drive by sweeping around the right side of the line for a score en route to a 17-7 Yellow Jackets lead.
However, on the ensuing possession, Long County quarterback Brendon Scott hit wide receiver Stephon Adderly for a big 54-yard reception. Facing a second-and-10 situation on his own 33, Scott dropped back for a pass. With several Yellow Jacket defenders in the backfield, Scott tucked away the ball and scrambled 31 yards to the Jeff Davis 2.
On the next play, Scott took it in for the score. Another good Blake kick made it 17-14 Jeff Davis at the end of the third quarter.
On the Yellow Jackets next offensive possession, big runs by Justin Kight took Jeff Davis to the Blue Tide 9. After gaining three yards on three downs, the Yellow Jackets faced a fourth and goal. With both teams lined up tight, the swarming Blue Tide defense became a wall at the goal line, shutting down Jeff Davis’ run attempt.
Later in the quarter, the teams exchanged interceptions, leading to the Blue Tide having the ball at their own 21. Scott found wide receiver Jack Lauver for a 17-yard reception.
Scott then decided to make a little of his own magic, as he took the snap and hit the line. Scott got by one man, then another and then a few more until he was finally brought down at the Jeff Davis 7. Two plays later, Scott hit Adderly, who fought his way into the end zone for the go-ahead score. Blake’s conversion attempt went wide-left, but the Blue Tide still led 20-17 with 1:36 left.
After Long County’s deep kick, the Yellow Jackets began their drive at their own 20. Mixing it up on the ground and in the air, Jeff Davis moved to the Blue Tide 31-yard line and had a first down. The Long County defense was unmovable for the first three downs. Then, facing fourth and 10, a Yellow Jacket pass fell incomplete, giving the Blue Tide their first win of the year.
This Friday, Long County is home again for another region game against Bacon County (2-2). See Wednesday’s Courier for a preview of that game.