The Blue Jackets of Savannah High will buzz onto Olvey Field tonight, looking for their first win of the season. Typically an easy win for the home team, the Bradwell Tigers will need to keep their heads in the game as they struggle with a young and injured squad.
Tiger coach Jim Walsh said they were seven players down going into last Friday’s loss to
the Knights, and they lost five more to injuries during that
game. While most of the injured athletes will be game-ready for tonight, Walsh said he did lose two players for the rest of the season.
However, the coach said he
is proud of the players who
never quit and fought for a comeback, calling them tenacious. Trailing 20-13 in the first
half of last week’s match, the Tigers used every player on the
bench to muster two offensive drives and score two touchdowns. The Tigers then drove down
field with 30 seconds left in regulation and tried for a winning field goal. But the Knights offense blocked the kick and ran out the clock.
"We had 53 offensive snaps averaging 6 yards a snap," Walsh said. "I felt like we made a huge step forward offensively."
Since 2001 the Tigers have outscored the Blue Jackets while allowing only 26 points. But this is not the same Tiger team due to youth and injuries. With four teams sitting at 2-1 in region 3-AAAAA the BI squad needs to win their next four games and hope the other teams lose a few to climb up the rankings."Stuff like that will play itself out," Walsh said when asked if tonight’s game was a must win for the post season.
"The only team I can worry about is Bradwell Institute. We just need to get our injured kids healthy. And the kids that have to play; we need to work with them to make them better. Our kids are going to play and they showed that the other night. With the adversity we had going into the game and during the game...
"I told them how proud I was after the game. The kids that had to go in played hard for us and it showed a lot of character and fight from our players."
Defensively the Tiger front line is a bit battered and bruised but the younger players are getting their licks in as well. Veteran David Swinford led the solo tackles with 7, Brandon Barber and Keyoung Miller had 6 each. Johnnie Turnage had 5, D’Marius Moye, Delrish Moore, Darvean Herron, Jahlil Witt and Saquan Anderson all had 3.
Walsh said the Blue Jackets played well defensively against the Jenkins Warriors last Friday. Their offense mounted an 80-yard touchdown drive in their closest game so far this season (6-12 loss). The Blue Jackets have scored only 18 points and allowed 209.
The Tigers have a three-game home stand facing the Blue Jackets tonight and hosting Beach High next Friday for homecoming. They are scheduled to play Johnson on Oct. 30 at home but might change the game to Thursday night.
Kickoff tonight is 7:30.