By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Blue Devils claw to 23-20 win at Richmond Academy

Box Score
                       SHS        ARC

First Downs        11        15
Rush Yards        33-163    39-191       
Pass Yards        103        107
Total Yards        268        298
Passing        4-13-0    10-15-0
Turnovers        0        1
Penalties        3-25        3-20

Individual Leaders

Rushing: SHS: Daniels, 14-114, TD.  ARC: Welcher, 26-167, TD.
Passing: SHS: Chance, 4-11-103, 2 TD.  ARC: Bowdre, 10-14-107, TD.
Receiving: SHS: Brunson, 1-32, TD. ARC: Ellis, 6-75, TD.

SHS        3    6    14    0    23
ARC        0    13    0    7    20

1st Quarter
1:52 — Hill (SHS) 33 field goal
2nd Quarter
11:51 — Brunson (SHS) 32 pass from Chance (kick blocked)
6:29 — Bowdre (ARC) 1 run, (kick blocked)
0:25 – Ellis (ARC) 21 pass from Bowdre (Ardrey kick)
3rd Quarter   
10:14 — Daniels (SHS) 35 run (Hill kick)
0:00 — Lewis (SHS) 26 pass from Chance (Hill kick)
4th Quarter
1:54 — Welcher (ARC) 9 run (Ardrey kick)

    AUGUSTA – Statesboro has yet to play in the friendly confines of Womack Field, but the Blue Devils are making the Augusta area their home away from home.
    The Devils traveled north for the second time in as many weeks and overcame a halftime deficit to defeat the Academy of Richmond County by a score of 23-20 Friday night.
    The Musketeers (0-2) carried a 13-9 lead into the second half, but Statesboro (2-0) rattled off 14 unanswered points in the third quarter, then held on down the stretch to cap off the win.
    “This game really ran the range of emotions,” SHS coach Steve Pennington said. “I saw a confused and discouraged team at halftime, but I also saw a team in the second half that was able to instill some confidence in itself.”
    Statesboro kicked off to ARC to begin the second half, but forced a three-and-out. A low snap on the punt forced Gardner Duckworth to evade one tackle before popping a kick straight into the air as the pressure closed in.
    The Devils took full advantage as Quan Daniels (14 carries, 114 yards) raced for a 35-yard touchdown on the next play to reclaim a 16-13 Statesboro lead.
    When Richmond Academy was forced to punt on its next drive, Ben Roberts soared in to record the block. The Devils couldn’t convert points from that opportunity, but another short punt allowed SHS to drive for the decisive score.
    “Special teams is something that we can rely on to win,” Pennington said. “We got some big plays out of the punt team and a field goal that was the difference in the margin of victory.”
    With the third-quarter clock running down, Statesboro lined up in its double-tight wishbone set, but Colin Chance (4-for-13, 103 yards, 2 TD) faked a handoff and found Jon Lewis for a 26-yard strike as the quarter expired.
    The Musketeers were denied on their first two drives of the fourth quarter but threatened late.
    With four minutes to play, C.J. Welcher (26 carries, 167 yards) ripped off run after run. Welcher capped a 72-yard scoring drive with 1:54 to play to bring Richmond Academy within 23-20, but the Devils recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock for the win.
    Statesboro had all the answers for the Musketeers’ offense early on. ARC ran just six plays in the first quarter – going three-and-out on both of its possessions – but turned things around after the touchdown pass to Brunson.
    Barry Bowdre (10-for-14, 107 yards, TD) replaced Thomas Allison behind center and got his troops moving right away.
    Welcher did most of the heavy lifting, running off tackle and bouncing outside for additional yardage. Welcher had three runs of 10 yards or more on the drive, including a 12-yard romp to the SHS 3 to set up the Musketeers’ first touchdown.
    Two plays after Welcher got it close, Bowdre plowed in from a yard out and made it 9-6 midway through the second quarter.
    Statesboro burst through on the extra point attempt to block Joeseph Ardrey’s kick.
    The Blue Devils tried to respond, and a pair of big runs by Daniels quickly moved the ball into ARC territory. SHS pushed inside of the Musketeer 40, but a costly holding penalty stifled the drive and the Devils kicked it away late in the half.
    Bowdre ran the two-minute offense to perfection to snatch the lead for Richmond Academy at the end of the first half.
    The senior quarterback connected on 7 of 8 throws — five to Quentarious Ellis — as the Musketeers flew down the field. With 25 seconds to play in the half, Bowdre escaped pressure and found Ellis all alone in the end zone for a 21-yard strike.
    Ardrey connected on the extra point to make it 13-9 at halftime.
    “(ARC was) a very tough team to stop,” Pennington said. “They were able to bring a very balanced attack. Every time we stopped one thing, they were able to do another.”
    George Hill notched the first points of the game as he sailed a 33-yard field goal through the uprights in the first quarter.
    Chance connected with Diquan Brunson on a 32-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the second quarter on a play-action pass that foreshadowed the Devils’ final scoring play of the night.
    Next week, Statesboro holds its home opener as the Blue Devils take on Tattnall County.

    Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.