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Devils worn out by Ware County
SHS Football
Ware County defenders Isaiah Perry, top left, and Trey Hargrove team up for a second quarter sack on Statesboro High quarterback Bruce Yawn on Friday, Oct. 28 at Womack Field. It was a rough night all around for the Devils as Ware County scored early and often en route to a dominating 59-7 victory. Despite the loss, Statesboro has qualified for the state playoffs following next week's regular season finale against Jenkins.

Midway through the first quarter of Statesboro High School’s matchup with the top-ranked Gators of Ware County, the Blue Devils were in pretty good shape. They forced a field goal for Ware County despite the Gators having first and goal at the four yard line.

The Gators looked as if they were going to drive in for a touchdown on their next drive, but the Blue Devil defense was able to pressure Ware County quarterback Nikao Smith and linebacker Amontrae Bradford was able to steal the ball after a pump fake and race 80 yards to put the Blue Devils up 7-3.

Unfortunately for the Blue Devils (3-6, 2-2), Ware County (8-0, 4-0) went on to shutout Statesboro the rest of the game and showed why they are among top teams in AAAAA as they scored 56 straight points en route to a 59-7 win Friday night at Womack Field.

“When we scored in the first quarter I thought the momentum shifted our way,” said Statesboro Head Coach Jeff Kaiser. “We knew they were really, really good and we wanted to see if we could play with them and stick with them but they physically whipped us at the point of attack.”

Even with the loss, the Blue Devils clinched a playoff spot by virtue of Greenbrier’s loss to Coffee.

Despite having the early lead, the Blue Devil offense struggled all night against a quick and strong Gators defense. It wasn’t until late in the fourth quarter, against the Ware County second string, that Statesboro even had positive offensive yardage on the night.

The longest play of the night came late in the fourth quarter when Ty Chambers was able to get some space and run for 16 yards and a first down.

The Blue Devils finished with three total yards of offense and negative four rushing yards. Ware County’s defense held Statesboro to zero or negative yards on 24 of their offensive plays on the night.

“I’m embarrassed for our team and our school that this happened on my watch so we’ll get back to work and try to get ready for game 10 (of the season.)”

Statesboro came in to the night battling injuries, including three offensive linemen out which Kaiser knew was going to be an area of concern.

“We know it was going to be an issue but we had some guys who stepped up,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Ware County offense started to click after surrendering the turnover and score. Smith threw for 241 yards and three touchdowns while the ground game for Ware County added 100 rushing yards and two scores in the first half as Ware led 38-7 at halftime.

On the night, Ware County finished with 561 total yards, including 313 passing as five different players scored touchdowns for the Gators. Ware County averaged almost eight yards per carry against the Blue Devils’ defense as they outscored Statesboro 21-0 in the second half.

“Hat’s off to Ware, they’re a very good team and I’m sure they’ll contend for a state championship. Our goal is to going to be to play them again,” Kaiser said.

Statesboro still has a chance to claim the third seed in region 1-AAAAA with a win on Friday against Jenkins. That game kicks off at 7:30 in Savannah