Five turnovers on Friday by the Long County High School football team resulted in the Blue Tide falling to Tattnall County High School 34-10.
Long County’s quarterback tandem of Elijah Wright and Tripp Stapleton struggled all night against the Battle Creek Warriors, throwing five interceptions. Though the turnovers did give the visiting team good field position for most of the night, with solid play by the Blue Tide defense the turnovers only resulted in 14 points.
The Battle Creek Warriors got the ball first in the game and after a pass inference call against the Blue Tide the Reidsville team had the ball near mid field. Running back Dobe Calhoun then got the ball and raced 50 yards for a touchdown. After Florentino Santiago’s extra point attempt failed Tattnall County led 6-0.
After the kickoff. Long County got the ball back at their own 24-yard line. With big runs by Jamin Davis and Wright, and two clutch catches by Jack Lauver, the Blue Tide moved the ball into Warrior territory. Long County’s drive stalled at the Tattnall County 22and the home team faced a fourth down at their own 5-yard line. Blue Tide head coach Eric McNair decided to go for the three points and sent in Aaron Nevarez who booted in the 22-yard field goal to narrow the score to 6-3.
Tattnall County got the ball back after the kick but went three-and-out, punting the ball back to Long County. The Blue Tide took over possession of the ball at their own 19. After one first down Wright dropped back for a pass and threw the ball towards his receiver, but the ball fell short and was picked off by Tattnall County’s David Miller.
The Warriors drove down the field and had the ball at Long County’s 1-yard line and faced a fourth down call. Deciding to go for the touchdown Tattnall County drove towards the goal line, but the Blue Tide defense caused the Tattnall County runner to cough the ball up. The pigskin was recovered in the end zone by Tariq Carpenter giving Long County the ball at their own 20. But the celebration in Ludowici didn’t last long. Quarterback Wright rolled out for another pass attempt and this time it was picked off by Tattnall County’s C.J. Brown giving the ball right back to the visiting team.
The Warriors once again drove down the field, but their drive bogged down at the Blue Tide 22-yard line. Facing a fourth down and needing four yards for a first down, the Tattnall County quarterback went for all the marbles throwing the ball into the end zone. But once again the Blue Tide defense shut the drive down as the ball fell incomplete.
Long County coach McNair decided to make a quarterback change and sent in Stapleton. With just over a minute left in the second quarter Stapleton attempted a pass, but it too fell short and Tattnall County’s Raquan Jackson scooped the ball up and rambled in for the pick-six. Santiago’s extra point split the uprights this time and the Battle Creek Warriors led 13-3 at the half.
Long County got the ball first to start the second half, but once again the offense struggled to move the ball having to punt the ball from their own 15. On the return Tattnall County’s Keandrae Cain surveyed the field and then slipped one, then two, and then three Long County defenders as he raced in for the score. After the successful PAT the visitors led Long County 20-3.
With the game beginning to look like it was going to get out of hand, Tattnall County kicked the ball deep to Blue Tide return man Carpenter. Carpenter followed his initial blockers, and then hit an open lane. Finding a gear that no one was able to keep up with, he scampered 90-yards for the touchdown.
Nevarez’s kick was good and the Blue Tide were only down 20-10.
But that was as close as this game was going to get. Each of the Blue Tide quarterback’s would throw one more interception, and the Battle Creek Warriors would tack on two more touchdowns to make the final score 34-10. With the region loss Long County fell to 1-5-2 overall and 0-4 in Region 2-AAA, while Tattnall County improved their overall record to 4-5 and their region mark to 1-3.
Long County will close out its season next week at Brantley County. The Herons are 5-3 overall and 2-2 in the region. Friday night’s game was also Senior Night for Long County, and a special story on all of the Blue Tide senior players, cheerleaders, and band members will be in the Wednesday paper also with a preview of the Brantley County game.