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Blue Devils offense explodes for big win

            GUYTON – The Statesboro offense is usually slow and methodical, but Friday night saw it fill up the highlight reel.

            The Blue Devils had four scoring plays of at least 36 yards, racked up 569 yards of offense, and had three running backs top the 100-yard mark as they rolled to a 42-21 win over South Effingham at The Corral.

            “It’s always good to get an offensive effort like that,” said SHS coach Steve Pennington. “South Effingham put up some good plays as well, but we were able to answer every time.”

            Michael Summers did an excellent job at quarterback in relief of Reid Pennington for the last two weeks, but with Pennington’s return, Summers showed how dangerous he can be everywhere else on the field.

            The junior running back rushed for 107 yards and hauled in a 78-yard touchdown pass in his return to the tailback position.

            “It doesn’t matter where I’m at on the field,” said Summers. “I just do my best for whatever job I’m called to do. It takes all 11 guys on the field doing their job to make those plays happen, so they need a lot of the credit, too.”   

            Summers put Statesboro ahead with a 65-yard touchdown run in the first quarter before showing that he can be just as threatening as a receiver.

            With the Devils holding a 14-3 lead in the second quarter, Reid Pennington looked deep downfield for Summers. A Mustang defender got a piece of the pass, but Summers hauled in the deflection near midfield and raced to the end zone.

            “I just didn’t let up on the play,” said Summers. “I kept my eye on the ball, and when it got tipped to me, I knew I could get it and outrun everyone.”

            Sophomore Dequan Daniels – who had assumed the top running back role with Summers under center – was just as good, leading the team with 143 yards on nine carries and catching a 58 yard touchdown pass that gave Statesboro a commanding 35-14 lead late in the third quarter.

            Fellow sophomore Josh Mercer kept South Effingham close. He racked up 138 yards on the ground, but the Devils were able to keep him away from the end zone early in the game, and his 28 yard scoring run in the fourth quarter came after the outcome was already decided.

            “South Effingham executed very well for much of the night,” said Steve Pennington. “Our defense was up to the challenge though, and we got some crucial stops when we really needed them.”

            Statesboro may have put the game away sooner if not for a Daniels run that was a little too good.

            Aiming to set up a field goal in the final seconds of the second quarter, Daniels carried the ball around the left side. The sophomore broke two tackles at the Mustang 20 and dodged two more before being brought down at the 5, but the second at third efforts allowed the half to run out and the Devils were forced to head to the locker room with just a 21-6 advantage.

            With the win, the Devils maintain sole possession of first place in their sub-region of Region 2-AAAA. Next week, Statesboro returns to Womack Field where it will have a chance to clinch the top spot out of the sub-region with a win over Evans.


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