For a while it looked like the Statesboro Blue Devils may have been able to pull off the upset of the 5-2 Brunswick Pirates, but the Pirates pulled away late and made what was a pretty competitive game look more lopsided as they won Friday in Brunswick 38-18.
The Blue Devils put up 255 yards of offense, led by Jaylin Mikell who rushed for 121 yards on 21 carries. The Blue Devils implemented an H-back that really seemed to help the offense move the ball with J.D. Kaiser and Dake Williams swapping in and out at the position.
“Offensively we did some really good things,” Kaiser said. “We changed up what we did and tried to power it a bit. Those guys we swapped in played every defensive snap. We just ran out of gas there in the second half.”
On the other side of things, the Pirates explosive offensive took over in the second half. The Blue Devils defense looked exhausted by the fourth quarter. Brunswick put up nearly 450 yards of total offense, 243 on the ground, and 200 through the air.
“Defensively we got out physicaled tonight,” Kaiser said. “We need to simplify things on defense to give our kids a little better chance, and we will work on that this week.”
The Blue Devils came back from a 7-0 deficit to score two touchdowns in less than a minute. Statesboro started a six-minute drive from their own 20-yard line, and capped it off with a 3-yard Aundrell Grace touchdown. The extra point failed and it was 7-6.
On the Pirates second play from scrimmage A.J. Eason jumped the Pirate receiver’s route and took it in stride 33-yards for a Blue Devils touchdown. The 2-point conversion failed and the Blue Devils grabbed a 12-7 lead with 2:26 left in the first half.
It looked like the Blue Devils may go into the half with the lead, but the Pirates marched downfield and on fourth and goal from the 4-yard line a misdirection play saw a wide-open Xavier Bean haul in the pass from K.J. Lee and Brunswick took a 14-12 halftime lead.
The Blue Devils ate up a little clock on their opening possession of the second half, but the Pirates then went on a 9-play 90-yard drive capped off by a 9-yard pass from Lee to Tyrease Jones for a 21-12 lead.
The Blue Devils came right back to answer. Statesboro quarterback Anes Rackleff helped set things up as he went 22-yards on a fourth and 10 play. Mikell capped the scoring with a 10-yard touchdown run. The extra point failed and the lead was cut to 21-18 with 11:03 left in the game.
The Pirates then reeled off 17 unanswered points. The Pirates elected to go for it on fourth and three from midfield. Statesboro was whistled for lining up offsides, and on the very next play Ree Simmons took off downfield stiff arming his was 43-yards for the score, and a 28-18 lead.
Brunswick added a Chuckobe Hill 9-yard touchdown, and then capped the scoring with a 38-yard Anthony Elvine field goal with 13 seconds left in the game for the final points.
The Blue Devils schedule has been heavily front loaded as they have not only played a couple ranked teams in non-region matchups, but their first two region games have been against the two teams picked to battle for the top two spots in the region this year.
The loss drops the Blue Devils to 1-5 on the season and 0-2 in region play. Up next Statesboro finally returns to Womack field after three straight games on the road. They will host Bradwell Institute. Brunswick will take on Richmond Hill next week for the top spot in the region.