Statesboro had no problems Friday night with visiting Wayne County at Womack Field. The Blue Devils (3-0, 2-0) jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 35-6 victory to stay undefeated.
"I think we exhibited some things, especially individually, and saw a little more intensity and a conscious effort to be thinking about what's going on," said SHS coach Steve Pennington. "So from that standpoint I think, yeah, we took some steps forward."
It took Statesboro almost seven minutes to get on the board after both teams took awhile to figure each other out.
Patrick Jenkins got the call out of the SHS backfield, sweeping to the right and carrying corner back Eric Daniel into the end zone with him.
The Blue Devils defense then forced a three-and-out with a big sack by Rob Pennington, setting up a 58-yard run by Nic Lanier. Lanier took an off-tackle dive, then emerged out of the pile to scamper the rest of the field for a 14-0 SHS lead.
"It feels good," said the junior, all smiles. "I had to get back all my yards from last week (against Glynn Academy)."
While the Wayne County spread offense continued to struggle, the Devils offensive line began to assert itself, picking up chunks of yardage and keeping the Yellow Jacket defense on the field on a warm and muggy night.
"Yeah, we did pretty good," said senior lineman Kevin Groover. "We practiced hard all week and (tonight) we got after it. We didn't really make any changes, we just told ourselves we could do it and we did it."
The Blue Devils rushed for 272 yards on 43 carries, scoring five times.
Statesboro's defense matched its offensive counterparts with two interceptions. The first came at the 9:26 mark of the second quarter when Joey Daniels' pass was tipped, then grabbed out of the air by Roquell Gamble. That would set up Lanier's second TD of the half from a yard out.
Weldon Watts got a pick of his own when the senior linebacker dropped into coverage and picked off another Daniels pass just before halftime.
Statesboro wasted little time scoring in the third, as Marcus White dove in from the 1 to make it 28-0. Jacob Lockett joined the party with 3:20 left in the frame with a 1-yarder of his own, pushing the advantage to 35-0.
The Jackets (1-3, 1-2) finally got on the board just before the fourth quarter when Wesley Taylor, who was the original starting QB for WCHS, eluded pressure and launched a duck that died in the arms of Derrish Pittman at the 5. Pittman ran it in after the catch from there.
"We knew our secondary was going to be tested," said Pennington. "I thought our young secondary did a good job. Wayne did not go on the deep threat, therefore our linebackers did a good job underneath. All that is predicated on what kind of pass rush we had — and we had pretty good pressure."
Caleb Brown was five-for-five on extra points in the game.
The Blue Devils will face their first road-region game of the season next Friday, traveling to Brunswick.