BRUNSWICK – It was another classic battle between Statesboro and Brunswick, but the end had a new twist this time around.
Statesboro avenged losses in the regular season finale of each of the last two seasons as the Blue Devils (1-0) defeated Brunswick (1-1) by a count of 21-12 Friday night at Glynn County Stadium.
It was a total team effort as the Statesboro defense held tough all night and running backs Dequan Daniels (151 yards) and Michael Summers (107) each topped the century mark on the ground.
“Any time you can win in Glynn County Stadium, you’ve got to put a feather in you cap,” said Statesboro coach Steve Pennington. “This is a very tough place to play and Brunswick is a very good team. I feel like we really took a step forward tonight.”
The Blue Devils wasted no time on their first drive of the season. The powerful Statesboro wishbone running attack consistently plowed through the Brunswick line, gaining a first down on each of its first three plays from scrimmage. Summers finished off the drive with a two yard touchdown run to cap the six-play drive that lasted just 2:30
Statesboro went a long way in helping Brunswick on its first scoring drive.
A three-and-out from deep in its own possession forced a Statesboro punt that traveled only to its own 41. The Blue Devil defense didn’t budge on Brunswick’s first two plays and Anderson’s third down pass sailed incomplete, but a pass interference call against Statesboro kept the drive alive and Justin Coleman strolled into the end zone four plays later to get the Pirates within 7-6 after a failed conversion.
“Those penalties hurt us a good bit,” said Pennington. “A lot of them stemmed from us being out of position. When we were in the right place, we were able to make all the plays.”
Brunswick’s defense was quickly able to mend most of the lapses from Statesboro’s first drive and started to fight back. The Pirates forced two punts and the Devils were forced to grind out their progress just a few yards at a time.
Statesboro finally found another big play late in the first half when Dequan Daniels broke a tackle and sprinted around the left side for a 29 yard touchdown.
“I was tired, but I knew we were getting to (the Brunswick defense),” said Daniels. “That’s why we run those sprints in practice. We pounded on them and wore them down late and we were able to get some big runs.”
The tide of the game changed in the closing seconds of the first half when the always stingy Statesboro defense came up with a big play.
Clinging to a 14-6 lead, the Devils allowed Brunswick quarterback Chris Anderson to complete two passes for 36 yards and into the Statesboro red zone. Three more runs set the Pirates up with fourth-and-goal from the one yard line, but the Devils ganged up on Anderson, stopping him inches short of the goal line to force a turnover and maintain the lead.
“That play really fired up the team,” said Pennington. “I give some credit to our offense. We pride ourselves on being physical, so we pound on each other in practice.
“Our defense is used to taking on that kind of a challenge. (Brunswick) tried to go up the middle three straight plays, but we had the toughness and determination to stop them.”
The Pirates bounced right back after the half, moving 80 yards – mostly by way of the pass – in just seven plays culminating in a three yard scoring run by Jarvis Small.
Brunswick attempted to tie the game with a two-point conversion, but Anderson’s pass fell incomplete and the Devils maintained a 14-12 lead.
Statesboro answered right back, quickly driving down the field and taking the final 21-12 margin on a two yard scoring run by Summers early in the final quarter.
In the closing minutes, the Pirates were finally able to threaten again, but Reid Pennington – who had called the shots under center for the Devils throughout the game – sealed the win with an interception in his own end zone.
Off to a good start, the Devils return to Womack Field next week where they will face Washington County next week in their home opener.
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.