First Downs 9 22
Rush Yards 34-136 54-361
Pass Yards 44 74
Total Yards 180 435
Passing 3-5-0 5-10-0
Turnovers 0 0
Penalties 8-62 11-102
Rushing: SHS: Rawls, 15-82. BCHS: Green, 26-225, 3 TD
Passing: SHS: Chance, 3-5-44, TD. BCHS: Green, 5-10-74
Receiving: SHS: Brunson, 2-44, TD. BCHS: Baxley, 3-47
SHS 7 7 0 0 — 14
BCHS 0 21 6 8 — 35
4:26 — Rawls (SHS) 1 run (Hill kick)
11:51 — Brunson (SHS) 34 pass from Chance (Hill kick)
7:21 — Lee (BCHS) 10 run (Thomas kick)
1:50 — Green (BCHS) 13 run (Thomas kick)
0:07 —Green (BCHS) 2 run (Thomas kick)
0:12 — Lee (BCHS) 6 run (Thomas kick)
5:51 — Green (BCHS) 48 run (Grubbs run)
WAYNESBORO — In what was billed as a heavyweight fight, Statesboro came out with an opening flurry, but Burke County delivered the knockout punch.
Just one play into the second quarter, the Blue Devils (3-1) took a 14-0 lead. But led by quarterback Donquell Green’s 225 rushing yards and three touchdowns, the Bears (3-1) struck back with 35 unanswered points to notch the 35-14 victory.
Burke scored a pair of quick touchdowns to even the game late in the second quarter, then recovered a muffed kickoff.
Green scored on a 2-yard run 7 seconds before the end of the half to give Burke the lead, and the Bears never looked back.
“We want to focus on the positive,” said SHS coach Steve Pennington. “We had good intensity and executed well at times, but Burke is a real good team.”
Trailing 21-14 to begin the second half, Statesboro forced a bad punt and gained possession on the Bears’ 35. But Burke County dug in to deny SHS, and the Devils didn’t see the ball in Burke territory the rest of the night.
Knowing full well about the explosiveness of Green and the Burke offense, the Devils couldn’t have started the game on a better note.
Beginning on its own 28, Statesboro launched one of its signature methodical drives. Quan Daniels and Sherrodric Rawls pounded away on the ground while Colin Chance converted a crucial third-and-5 pass to Diquan Brunson.
The Bears appeared to stop SHS when another third-and-5 pass to Daniels came up short, but a late hit penalty extended the drive.
Three plays later, Rawls’ 1-yard scoring run capped off a 15-play, 78-yard drive that ate up 7:34.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better beginning to the game,” Pennington said. “We made out blocks and ran the ball well. We just couldn’t keep it up throughout the game”
Two big runs by Green and Tom Ellison marched Burke into SHS territory on its opening drive, but the Devils held and forced a punt.
Statesboro again advanced slowly down the field, wearing out the rest of the first quarter.
On the first play of the second quarter, Chance faked a dive, faked a counter, rolled out and found Brunson wide open for a 34 yard strike to push the lead to 14-0.
But that’s when Green and company went to work.
Utilizing a no-huddle attack, the Bears’ running backs attacked the edges on sweeps while Green found holes up the middle on designed draws. Burke registered four runs of 10 or more yards — and was helped by a 15 yard facemask penalty on SHS —before Malik Lee scored on a 10 yard run midway through the second quarter to make it 14-7.
Finally finding a way to stuff the SHS running game, Burke quickly regained possession and was on the move again.
A 27-yard completion from Green to Jermaine Baxley put the Bears at the SHS 13, and Green scored the first of his three touchdowns on the next play with 1:50 to go in the first half.
The ensuing kickoff proved to be the Devils’ undoing as the ball bounced off of Brunson and was recovered by the Bears, leading to the late first-half score that put Burke up to stay.
“That was a big turn in momentum,” Pennington said. “But the biggest thing was third downs. We couldn’t get off the field tonight and that all. Every time we got Burke in a third-and-long, they found a way.”
Overall, the Bears converted on nine of 12 third downs, leading to a huge edge in time of possession. Burke ran 64 plays, compared to Statesboro’s 39.
Lee made it a two-possession game with a 6-yard run just before the end of the third quarter. Green put the exclamation point on his big night — and the final nail in the Devils’ coffin — with a spectacular 48-yard run midway through the fourth quarter.
Statesboro will try to get back on track next week as it heads back home to host Butler.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.