Statesboro head coach Jeff Kaiser stressed to the team that regardless of the Blue Devils 1-4 record with the start of the region schedule Friday the Blue Devils had a chance to wipe the slate clean and pick things up with a record of 0-0. The Blue Devils that showed up Friday night looked like they were focused and indeed put the heartbreaking losses from the non-region behind them as they came out hot and finished strong as they knocked off Greenbrier 35-0.
“I’m proud of the kids and we are 1-0,” said Kaiser. “We got off to a fast start which really helped us. We take them one at a time and I am very pleased with how we played tonight.”
Big plays were the story for the Statesboro offense who scored four touchdowns of 47 yards or more. Quarterback Kam Mikell finished the game with 145 yards rushing on just six carries. Jordan Lovett added 116 yards on 11 carries. Mikell also added a touchdown pass. Overall, the Blue Devils outgained Greenbrier 328 to 40 on the ground. The Wolfpack did manage 167 yards passing.
The Blue Devils started off hot, and ended well without a lot of action in the third and late into the fourth on offense. On their final two possessions of the game, Statesboro scored on two plays with adjustments Kaiser had wished he had done earlier.
“On defense they were loading the box,” said Kaiser. “We went to two tight ends and scored on both plays. I wish we would have made that adjustment earlier in the second half, that one is on me.”
The Statesboro defense pitched their first shutout of the season and only allowed the Wolfpack into Blue Devil territory twice in the second half, and never past the 42-yard line.
“I really thought our defense was dominant tonight,” said Kaiser. “It is tough going up against those empty sets and we don’t play a lot of man coverage but we were able to do it well tonight."
The Blue Devils wasted no time in getting on the board as Jordan Lovett took the hand off on their opening possession and ran into a wall of Wolfpack defenders, but then bounced outside where he streaked down the field 47-yards to give the Blue Devils a 7-0 lead.
The Statesboro defense help set the offense up for their next points as they’d strip the ball loose on the Wolfpack’s first possession and Denim Mincey recovered at the Greenbrier 38-yard line. A Jordan Lovett 20-yard run got the ball inside the 10-yard line. A penalty moved the ball back but Kam Mikell was able to hit Payton Wedlow in the end zone a few plays later for a 10-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 14-0.
The Statesboro defense was able to keep the Wolfpack on their side of the 50-yard line for nearly the entire half. The Blue Devils created another turnover late in the first as Leslie Black came up with a fumble recovery inside the Greenbrier 40-yard line, but Statesboro was unable to take advantage and the score remained 14-0 going to the second quarter.
Pinned at their own 21-yard line quarterback Kam Mikell found a seam down the Statesboro sidelines and showed the kind of speed that helped him set the school 100-meter dash record at 10.50 as he outraced the Wolfpack defenders for a 79-yard touchdown and a 21-0 halftime lead.
In the fourth quarter, Statesboro added a pair of scores after holding Greenbrier on fourth down attempts from midfield. With just over four minutes left in the game Mikell found a hole up the middle, made a nice stutter step, and went 56-yards for the touchdown. On their next possession Kayan McCollum went up the middle untouched on a 47-yard score with just over one minute to play.
Statesboro improves to 2-4 overall and 1-0 in region play. Up next the Blue Devils head to No. 6 ranked Coffee County next Friday.