First Downs 20 11
Rush Yards 249 338
Pass Yards 86 53
Total Yards 335 391
Passing 8-14-1 1-5-0
Turnovers 3 0
Penalties 6-50 3-20
Rushing: SEHS: Mercer — 21-88, TD. SHS: Rawls — 9-161, TD.
Passing: SEHS: Hunter — 8-14, 86 yds. SHS: Pennington — 1-4, 53 yds., TD
Receiving: SEHS: Mercer — 1-41 SHS: Daniels — 1-53, TD
SEHS 7 0 0 3 0
SHS 7 14 14 6 0
Score by Quarter
8:55 — Pennington (SHS) 2 run, Rodriquez kick
0:35 — Mercer (SEHS) 1 run, Heard kick
10:49 — Summers (SHS) 3 run, Rodriquez kick
5:31 — Daniels (SHS) 6 run, Rodriquez kick
11:36 — Rawls (SHS) 71 run, Rodriquez kick
7:23 — Daniels (SHS) 53 pass from Pennington, Rodriquez kick
11:13 — Reese (SEHS) 33 field goal
10:59 — Brunson (SHS) 65 run, kick failed
5:09 — Alford (SEHS) 5 run, Reese kick
The homecoming festivities are usually saved for halftime, but Statesboro wasn’t willing to wait that long.
The Blue Devils jumped out to a 21-7 lead after two quarters and never looked back, blazing a trail to a 41-17 win over South Effingham Friday night at Womack Field.
With the win, the No. 5 Devils improved to 7-0 on the season, but more importantly go to 3-0 in sub-region play, putting themselves in a prime spot to make a second straight appearance in the Region 2-AAAA championship game.
“Being at the top and looking down is certainly easier than looking up,” said SHS coach Steve Pennington. “That being said, we can’t just rest here. We have to remain focused and continue to move forward.”
For the second consecutive week, Statesboro running back Sherrodric Rawls set a career high in rushing yards. Last week, Rawls was pressed into heavy action and came up big with 118 yards. Friday, Rawls was up to the task once more, amassing 161 yards and a touchdown on nine carries.
After Statesboro took an early 7-0 lead, the Mustangs struck back with a long, grinding drive.
Relying heavily on star running back Josh Mercer (21 carries, 88 yards, TD), South Effingham inched its way down the field, picking up six first downs along the way. With the Devil defense winded, Mercer took the 16th play of the drive in for a 1 yard score to even the game.
Statesboro answered back with a quick touchdown drive to regain the lead, then opened it up with some help from the special teams. Cordaro Leverett mishandled an Alan Rodriquez punt early in the second quarter, allowing SHS to extend the lead.
Rahkym Thomas-McCray rambled for 15 yards, a penalty added 15 more, and Quan Daniels gave the Devils a 21-7 advantage with a 6 yard scoring run.
“Once again, we were able to execute on both sides of the ball,” said Pennington. “South Effingham took it to us a little bit in the first half, but we made all of the necessary adjustments.”
After the halftime festivities, the Devils left no doubt.
Rawls took the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter and raced 71 yards for a touchdown.
With the Mustang offense sputtering, Statesboro opened up the playbook and Reid Pennington found Daniels later in the quarter for a 53 yard touchdown pass — Pennington’s second strike through the air this season.
“One of the best things about tonight was the fact that we got some of our younger guys in,” said Pennington. “They work hard like everyone else, so it’s good to let them see some action.”
Heeding his coach’s call, Diquan Brunson finished off Statesboro’s scoring. On his only touch of the game, Brunson burst through the middle for a 65 yard scoring run.
“It was great getting to score on homecoming,” said Brunson. “I got great blocks from the line and my fullback. Everything just opened up.”
South Effingham tacked on 10 points in the final quarter — three on a 33 yard Anthony Reese field goal and seven more on Spencer Alford’s touchdown run — but only after the party had already commenced on the Blue Devils’ side of the stands.
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.