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Devils grind by Greenbrier
Statesboro starts slow, but five TD runs key 40-17 win
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Statesboro High running back Marcus White, 14, catches a pass over the shoulder from quarterback Luk Connell while beating Greenbrier defender Chris Partridge in the second quarter Friday. White finished the drive with a touchdown on the ground to help the Blue Devils go up 19-10 before halftime. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

                Statesboro got off to a slow start, but once they got rolling they wouldn't be stopped.

                The Blue Devils racked up 323 rushing yards and overcame four turnovers and a 10-point, first-quarter deficit to beat Greenbrier 40-17 Friday night at Womack Field.

                The Blue Devils scored 33 unanswered points after trailing 10-0 early in the first quarter. Both Greenbrier scores were the direct result of SHS turnovers.

                "No disrespect to Greenbrier," said Statesboro coach Steve Pennington. "But if we don't straighten these things out — and we continue to have the turnover bug — when we do play somebody in a tight ball game, it will be the difference."

                Statesboro has just one week to fix the problems that plagued them on Friday — turnovers and penalties — as the No. 4 Blue Devils (5-0, 4-0 Region 3-AAAA) must travel to undefeated Evans next week.

                For now, they'll celebrate a win that was capped off by an unlikely source. Lineman Jimmy Childers, a 5-foot-7, 178 pound junior, brought down a tipped pass and ran in an interception from four yards out to put SHS up 40-17.

                "I was surprised," said Childers. "I didn't ever know that a defensive lineman could score a touchdown. I just thought, 'I got to catch it — I got to catch it.'"

                Childers' score was indicative of a total team effort by Statesboro. Six different Devils scored on the night, including Jacob Lockett, who found the end zone in the fourth quarter on a drive in which he carried the ball eight times.

                "I just had to come out and go with the flow," said Lockett, who finished with 67 yards on the night. His score made it 33-10 in favor of the home team

                Greenbrier immediately gave Statesboro a wake-up call in the first quarter after forcing a fumble on the Devils' first drive. Tripper Mischel would give the Pack the lead with a 37-yard field goal at the 8:44 mark of the first.

                Luke Connell got one of his more forgettable nights started when he threw the first of his three picks on Statesboro's next possession. The Wolfpack turned it into six with a 52-yard touchdown pass. Nick Richards scrambled on a 3rd-and-long and found Salonic Amos behind the Devils' defense to put GHS up 10-0.

                Statesboro grabbed its first lead on a 37-yard Patrick Jenkins run in the second quarter to make it 12-10. They would add another score with a Patrick White scamper to go up 19-10 going into halftime.

                "We knew (Greenbrier) had big play capabilities," said Pennington. "We felt that if they had to drive the field we'd be in good shape. Our offense — when we were in control with the ball — it was four and five yards and the physical element took control."

                Greenbrier scored once more, this time on a 13-yard strike from Richards to Ben Turner in the third quarter. The Wolfpack then recovered an onside kick, but couldn't turn the stroke of fortune into anything.

                Undefeated Evans, a 35-0 winner over the Academy of Richmond County on Friday, will play host to Statesboro next week at 7:30 p.m.