Wayne County's Anfernee Jordan was the workhorse for the Yellow Jackets Friday night. The senior running back totaled 162 yards of offense and touched the ball 33 times, including a 39 yard touchdown run
WCHS 7 17 7 7 — 38
SHS 6 0 6 13 — 25
SHS_Osborne 50 pass from Kleinlein (kick failed). 11:43
WCHS_Clary 2 run (Roberson kick) 3:05
WCHS_Larry intercepts Kleinlein for 80 yards (Roberson kick) 10:18
WCHS_Brown 26 pass from Belz (Roberson kick) 4:02
WCHS_Roberson 30 field goal. 0:20
SHS_Williams 3 run (pass failed). 5:15
WCHS_Jordan 39 run (Roberson kick). 1:56
WCHS_Washington 73 pass from Belz (Roberson kick). 11:10
SHS_Osborne 24 pass from Kleinlein (kick failed). 7:36
SHS_Brown 2 run (Miller kick). 2:26
First downs 15 15
Total Yards 368 276
Rushes-yards 35-150 36-169
Passing 218 107
Comp-Att-Int 13-22-0 3-10-1
Turnovers 1 3
Penalties-Yards 13-95 1-5
Turnovers 2 3
Penalties-Yards 8-60 8-70
RUSHING_JHS, Jordan 7-54. PHS, Williams 10-119
PASSING_JHS, Jordan 11-24-1-159. PHS, Street 1-8-0-1
RECEIVING_JHS, Miles 5-49. PHS, Kirkland 1-1
Three keys to Wayne County's victory over SHS...
Statesboro’s offense showed big improvements over its opening week performance, but couldn’t keep pace with the Yellow Jackets. Belz and his spread offense consistently got the ball to threats in space to gain big chunks of yardage on the SHS defense.
All of Statesboro’s turnovers came at critical junctures. Kleinlein’s first fumbled snap caused the defense to trot back out on the field immediately after a 15-play Wayne drive. Larry’s pick-six came just one play after SHS had converted on 4th-and-1 in Wayne territory.
Wayne County’s go-to offensive plays revolved around carries by Jordan and short passes. While Statesboro was quick to get to the scene, Wayne ball carriers were consistently able to shake off the first tackle and gain extra yards.
Austin Kleinlein hit Juhwan Osborne for a 50 yard touchdown on the first play of Friday night’s game at Womack Field.
That’s about where the fun of Statesboro’s home opener stopped.
Wayne County scored the next 24 points as the Yellow Jackets (1-2) rolled to a 38-25 victory.
“Wayne is a big, strong team,” SHS coach Steve Pennington said. “I think we improved from our first game, but it wasn’t quite enough against those guys. Now, the challenge is to continue to get better.”
Two weeks after struggling to a 12-0 loss to Burke County in the season opener, Statesboro (0-2) came out firing. Kleinlein faked an inside handoff and — when the Jacket defense bit — hit Osborne in stride for a 6-0 lead just 17 seconds into the game.
Wayne’s offense went three-and-out on its first possession, but SHS couldn’t extend the lead.
Ryan Miller’s punt pinned the Jackets on their own 1 yard line, setting up the drive that changed the game’s momentum.
Wayne County was able to convert on three third downs, covering the length of the field in 15 plays. Yellow Jacket quarterback Nick Belz converted all three of those first downs with his arm before backup quarterback Seth Clary ran in from two yards out to cap the drive.
Statesboro seemed poised to respond early in the second quarter.
The Devils picked up a 4th-and-1 conversion in Wayne territory, but on the next play Lavonte Larry jumped in front of a Kleinlein throw, racing 80 yards for a touchdown.
“We thought we had something going,” Pennington said. “And then something like that happens. Wayne was able to make a number of big plays like that to really hurt us.”
From there, it turned into the Anfernee Jordan show.
As the featured back in the Jackets’ shotgun spread, Jordan was handed the ball 30 times for 124 yards and caught three passes for 38 yards. Hard running from Jordan advanced the Jackets into SHS territory late in the second quarter before Belz connected with Jammuel Brown for a 26 yard touchdown strike.
Wayne County kicker Hunter Roberson capped the final drive of the first half with a 30 yard field goal to give the Jackets a 24-6 lead at the break.
Statesboro tried to get back into the game, forcing a Jordan fumble on the first drive of the second
The Devils were assisted by a pair of personal foul calls and ultimately capped a 61 yard drive with a 3 yard scoring run by Corique Williams. A two-point conversion failed.
Statesboro seemed to execute a perfect onside kick on the ensuing kickoff. Julian Harrison gathered in Ryan Miller’s kick right at midfield, but officials ruled Harrison had touched the ball before it had travelled 10 yards and the Jackets took over possession.
Jordan then put the game out of reach, galloping 39 yards for his lone touchdown of the night.
“There were some big emotional swings,” Pennington said. “I think we handled them well. We obviously still need to improve on things, but I like how our guys responded to adversity.”
Wayne County added one final highlight in the final period as Kody Washington (7 catches, 138 yards) gathered in a quick slant and outran the Devil defense for a 73 yard score to make it 38-12.
The Devils made the final score a bit more respectable as Kleinlein and Osborne hooked up again — this time from 24 yards out — and Saderrick Brown powered into the end zone from two yards out.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9408.