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Turnovers prove costly for Blue Tide
Game over: The Blue Tide defense kept Friday’s game close against Pierce County. - photo by Photo by Mike Riddle
The Long County Blue Tide football team (4-6) was playing for pride and hoping to finish the season with a .500 record Friday. But four turnovers in the game resulted in the team losing 21-0 to the Pierce County Bears (8-2).
The Bears nor the Tide were able to do anything on their first series of the game. But on the Bears’ second possession, they were able to mix up the pass and the run to move the ball effectively.  
After starting on their own 16-yard line, the Bears drove down to the Blue Tide 27 and then their quarterback hit one of their wide receivers for a 27-yard touchdown.
The kicker’s PAT went wide to the left, so the Bears were up 6-0 - the score was at the end of the first half.
In the third period, with big plays made by senior Paul Lewandowski, the Long County team had a first and goal on the Bear eight-yard line. On the first down, senior tailback Prince Moody hit the hole for a three-yard gain, and it was second and goal on the five.
Quarterback Justin Boyd, went back for a pass, but decided to tuck the ball and headed for the score, but at the one-yard line he was hit by a Bear defender and the ball came out, bouncing into the end zone. Pierce County fell on the ball for the touchback, and had the ball again at their 20-yard line.
The Bears drove the ball down to the Blue Tide 40-yard line, but were facing a third-and-20 call.
On the third down, the Bear quarterback went back for a pass, but linebacker Eric Hadley made the sack for a seven-yard loss, forcing the team to punt once again.
The Tide once again was able to move the ball and got into Bear territory again, but Boyd threw an interception and the Bears had the ball at their own 3-yard line. At the end of three, it still was 6-0 Bears.
In the fourth quarter, the Bears appeared to be on the verge of putting the game out of reach when they had the ball at the Blue Tide one-yard line. But on a fourth and goal, from the one, the Blue Tide team denied the Bears a score and had the ball back.
Two plays later, standing in the end zone, Boyd hit wide receiver Ricky Rivera for a 42-yard pass, and the Blue appeared to be back in the game. A few plays later, wide out Donte Brown made a big catch at the bear 19-yard line and things looked good for Long County.
But after three plays, the Blue faced a critical fourth-and-six situation and was unable to covert, giving the ball back to Pierce County again.
With just over the six minutes in the game, Pierce County scored 15 more points, giving Long County their only shutout of the season, 21-0.
After the game, Long County players and coaches were disappointed with the outcome, but head coach Kyle Wilson praised his team saying, “You’ve come a long, long way. Yeah, be disappointed with the loss, but be proud of what you’ve accomplished.”
He noted, “You seniors are the first group of players to win a game for the Blue Tide, and now you have set a mark for others to shoot for. You are a special group of young men. Be proud of what you have down”.
For the game, Wilson was especially pleased with the play of the defense. “Defense, you did an outstanding job. You held a good team to six points until the end of the game, outstanding job,” he said.
Though the Blue Tide team fell a little short of the .500 mark with four wins, they did win more games than any other team since the program was started in 2002. They also averaged more than 27 points per game and proved they could score against any team.
Though the team will be losing several key players, they have several quality backups to take their place. The big difference for next year will be in the offensive and defensive line being one year older - and one year bigger.
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