The Long County Blue Tide football team welcomed in the top-ranked Calvary Day Cavaliers on Friday, Oct 27. Knowing they had a steep hill to climb if they wanted to pull off what would have been the biggest upset in the state, the Tide could not overcome the Cavaliers as they fell 35-0.
The Tide fall to 5-4 and 3-3 in the region. They now find themselves in an expected must-win situation when they welcome in the Johnson Atomsmashers for senior night on Friday, Nov 3.
With a win, the Tide would clinch their third straight playoff berth and would travel to Forsyth to play Mary Persons, the region champion of Region 2-AAA.
After Blue Tide forced a punt on the Cavs’ first possession, Jashaun Manghane hit a Cavalier defender in the chest for an interception as Calvary took over at the Tide 31.
Two plays later, Tennessee-committed quarterback Jake Merklinger hit 6-foot-4 tight end Michael Smith for a 28-yard touchdown to put the Cavaliers up 7-0.
Ahmari Douglas got things started on the first play of the next drive as he went 34 yards into Cavalier territory. The Tide drove down to the 23, but failed to convert a fourth and 5 as Calvary took over from there.
Merklinger picked up short yards through the air before facing a second and 7 from their own 34. That is when he found Smith, a South Carolina commit, again, this time on a short pass over the middle.
The future Gamecock went 66 yards for the touchdown and the 14-0 lead. The Tide were forced to punt after three plays on the next drive and that is when disaster struck as the first quarter came to an end.
A high snap forced Steven Wyatt to adjust his punt. This was just enough for the Cavaliers to block it and take over from the Tide 21.
The next play, Merklinger connected with Caden Arnold for his third touchdown of the night as the Cavaliers went up 21-0.
After a short punt late in the second quarter, the Cavaliers took over from the Tide 29.
Merklinger hit Smith, who leaped over a Tide defender, for 25 yards. Two plays later, they capped off the short drive with a run into the endzone to put them up 28-0 at the break.
The Cavaliers wasted little time getting into the endzone in the second half as a 37-yard touchdown run on their first series was the last of the night as the Cavaliers went up 35-0.
From there on out, there was a running clock as the Tide fell 35-0. A positive, however, was this being the least amount of points the Cavaliers have scored all season. They had not been held up 42 points all year.