BROOKLET -- The magic of the 2021 football season ran out for the Long County Blue Tide on Friday, Nov. 12. They traveled to take on the Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets and the home team jumped out to a lead the Tide could never overcome.
The Yellow Jackets (10-1) were on the field first from their own 40 after the opening kick went out of bounds. They went to work immediately with their dangerous read option rushing attack, getting down into Tide territory on a few big runs.
The Yellow Jackets seemingly got on the board first after a 37-yard run, but it was called back due to holding. They got backed up to the Tide 41 and picked up 10 yards on a short pass, but they could not pick up another first down.
The Region 3 runner-up was faced with a fourth and long from the 31 and, without a long-distance field goal kicker, were forced to go for it. Quarterback Khristian Clark looked for Central Florida commit wide receiver Tyler Griffin in the endzone, but the ball was broken up by Quintin Golden, leading to a turnover on downs.
The Tide took over at their own 31 and picked up eight yards on the first two runs by Tony Phillips. However, they were forced to punt after losing a yard on third down and punted to the Yellow Jackets’ 35.
The Yellow Jackets went to work immediately, picking up 16 yards thanks to a Griffin run. The Tide looked to make another big stop at their own 38 on a third and two, but Clark picked up just enough to keep the drive alive.
That is when the Yellow Jackets got their first big play of the night.
Griffin took a sweep handoff and looked to run but stopped and threw to a wide open Johntavious Scott for the 34-yard touchdown to make the score 7-0 late in the first.
The Yellow Jackets kept their momentum going as Ahmari Douglas dropped the kickoff, picked it up and then fumbled it on the tackle, setting the Yellow Jackets up at the Tide 24.
Griffin took the handoff on the very next play and raced into the endzone to give his team the 14-0 lead with 3:35 left in the first.
The Tide took over at their own 35 and finally picked up a first down to the 47-yard line. They faced a third and seven from the SEB 36 as the first quarter ended.
The Tide turned the ball over on downs two plays later as the Yellow Jackets took over at their own 34 after an incomplete pass.
The Yellow Jackets picked up a few yards to the 42 and then picked up a lot more on the next play.
The running back found room to run down the Tide sideline and to the Tide 36. Dwayne Rowe caught up with him and forced a fumble, which was then ruled to have rolled out of bounds after being clearly picked up by a Tide defender.
The Yellow Jackets retained possession there and wasted little time shutting the Tide’s momentum down. They eventually faced a first and goal from the Tide three after a 13-yard pickup.
The Yellow Jackets added to their lead on a Clark run to go up 21-0.
The Tide then looked to make something happen on the kickoff return, but things quickly went from bad to worse. The Tide returner reversed field at the 20 and tried to get around the coverage, but went down at his own 11, setting up the Tide deep in their own territory.
The Tide picked up big yards to the 30, but a holding call backed them up to the 20. They faced a third and seven before a timeout and change of offensive formation.
Douglas stood up in the shotgun with a receiver out wide. It looked as though he would be taking the snap and trying to work, but he fumbled the snap and recovered it after a seven-yard loss, setting up a fourth and 14 and punt attempt.
Rowe took the snap and then looked to throw, finding Tay Brown near the first down marker. Brown seemed to pick up the first down, but a questionable spot put the Tide two yards short.
The Yellow Jackets took over from the Tide 33 with just under four minutes left in the half.
Christian Jones, who returned Friday from a knee injury, and Kaden Gallups combined for a big tackle on the first down play, but the Jackets made up for it on the next play.
They picked up big yards to the 20 and a personal foul gave them good field position at the 11. They punched the ball in on the next play to make the score 28-0 before halftime.
Things did not get much better in the third quarter as the opening SEB kickoff bounced inside the five and did not roll as Douglas had to pick it up from there and returned it only the four, giving the Tide bad field position once again.
The Tide went three and out and punted to the SEB 40, giving the Jackets a chance to go up by five touchdowns. They picked up big yards to the Tide 17 on a 43-yard pass. Two plays later they went up 35-0 on a 12-yard run.
The Tide took over from their 36 and started to gain momentum as they got into Jacket territory once again. They were forced to go for it on fourth down again and they seemingly picked it up, but a fumble gave the Jackets the ball back at their own 40.
They went to the air again, picking up 26 yards to the Tide 30. A targeting call two plays later set them up at the seven and they finished off the drive on a Clark run to go up 42-0 as the third quarter ended.
The Tide did finally get on the board in the fourth with a running clock as Douglas scored his 12th touchdown of the year from four yards out and Jay’den Tanner scored on a 78-yard run, the Tide’s longest offensive play of the season and Tanner’s first career score.
The Tide fell to 5-6 on the year with the 42-16 loss. They will look to regroup in the offseason with a new schedule as their region will lose Brantley County and add Vidalia from AA and Liberty County, the 2021 Region 3-AAA champion.