There’s a famous line in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross which states that, “Coffee is for Closers."
It wasn't easy, but the Statesboro Blue Devils finally earned a fresh pot as they closed out a game, knocking off Richmond Hill 27-21 on Friday night at Womack Field.
The Blue Devils have been tied or held the lead in all four of their games this year but have let two of those get away including a loss to Swainsboro with 37 seconds remaining in the game. Friday night the Blue Devils were finally able to close one out as they forced the Wildcats into an incomplete pass on fourth and five from the Blue Devil 14-yard line with nine seconds left in the game.
“The difference tonight was a few guys showing leadership before the game even started,” said Statesboro coach Jeff Kaiser. “All they were shouting is finish., finish finish. I’m so proud of this team and I love them. We didn’t do a lot of things right, but we played hard.”
A driving rainstorm started at halftime and we t conditions saw four second half turnovers including three by the Wildcats. The last fumble proved costly as Statesboro scored the only touchdown in the fourth quarter shortly thereafter.
On third down and 12 from the Statesboro 35-yard line Wildcat quarterback Ty Goldrick had trouble with a high snap and fumbled the ball which was recovered by the Blue Devils Jamie Speight at the Richmond Hill 24-yard line.
Quarterback Kam Mikell then reeled off a 20-yard run down to the Wildcat 4-yard line, and on the next play Jalin Mikell scored with 1:33 remaining. The extra point failed leaving the score 27-20.
The Wildcats were able to move the ball into Statesboro territory on their first play from scrimmage on a 38-yard pass from Goldrick to Tommy Bliss. They’d take a couple shots in the end zone including one pass that was deflected by Kery Brinson at the goal line and bounced off Ravon Grant’s hands in the end zone. The fourth down pass intended for Grant was out of bounds and the Statesboro stands and sidelines erupted.
“Credit to Richmond Hill as they are a good football tea,” said Kaiser. “This win was huge to win it the way we did, but what is frustrating is we are three snaps away from being 5-0. That hurts me as the coach, but to win this game and it being a region game is huge and we will enjoy it for now but put it behind us and move on Sunday and get ready for Brunswick.”
Statesboro started the game with an impressive drive keyed by a 23-yard run by Mikell and a 32-yard run by Jordan Lovett. Mikell then connected with Lovett for a 16-yard touchdown. Michael Crews extra point made it 7-0 Statesboro.
The Wildcats answered as a flea flicker set them up in great field position, and they’d cash in on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Goldrick to Hayden McCullough tying the game at 7-7.
The Blue Devils responded as Lovett returned the ensuing kickoff 60-yards to the Richmond Hill 30-yard line. A few plays later Lovett went 21-yards, flipping himself into the end zone for a 14-7 Statesboro lead.
Richmond Hill answered before the half on a 6-yard score by Caleb Easterling to send the teams into halftime tied at 14-14.
The Wildcats pulled ahead 21-14 with 4:50 left in the third as they capitalized on a Statesboro turnover with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Goldrick to Grant.
In the fourth quarter the Wildcats fumbled three times and Statesboro scored after two of their turnovers. The first came after a Josh Johnson recovery as Kam Mikell broke outside, shed a few tackles and went 42-yards into the end zone to tie the game at 21-21 with 9:45 left in the fourth.
“The turnovers were big,” said Kaiser. “We go through the keys for the game and that is always one of the keys to a victory for the defense is win the turnover battle and we did that.”
Statesboro was led by Kam Mikell with 131 yards. Jalin Mikell added 124 yards rushing and Jordan Lovett had 79 yards. The Wildcats had only 98 yards rushing but Goldrick was 23-32 for 284 yards and two touchdowns.
The Blue Devils are 3-2 overall and 1-0 in region play. Up next they will host top 5 ranked Brunswick Friday at 7:30.