GUYTON — The Statesboro Blue Devils season woes continued Thursday evening, dropping a 21-7 matchup against the South Effingham Mustangs.
This win punches a playoff berth for South Effingham, leaving Statesboro's hopes shattered.
This marks the third year in a row Statesboro will miss the state playoffs — the longest streak since the Blue Devils were left out from 1978-1980.
Peyton Houston ran all over the Blue Devil defense, as he accounted for 155 yards at 8.6 yards a rush and a pair of touchdowns. Chris Glisson also found the end zone rushing the ball on just two carries but for 60 yards.
As for Statesboro (0-9, 0-3), turnovers continued to mar their performance as they lost three fumbles due to special team mishaps.
“Every time special teams are on the field, those things matter, and we didn't execute in that regard and with that it put our defense on the field entirely too much,” head coach Steve Pennington said.
It wasn’t until midway through the second quarter when Peyton Houston put the first points on the board for the ballgame, with an eighteen yard touchdown run up the gut.
Peyton Houston was able to find the end zone again on the following drive, after one of the Statesboro special teams fumbles gave the ball to the Mustangs at the 30 yard line. Houston’s short 1 yard TD rush came after a 15 yard pass from Anthony Beck to Ross Freeman.
Statesboro tried to answer with a 35 yard field goal before the half, but it was missed wide left.
The Blue Devils received the ball to start the second half, and obtained one first down before punting the ball away.
South Effingham all season has been a team too keep an eye on in fourth and short situations, as the Mustangs have been known for running a multitude of trick plays. As South Effingham pulled out a trick midway through the third quarter when on fourth and three, Makenzy Newbill, took the direct snap and rolled outside for a gain of eight on the play, causing a shift in the field position.
Statesboro did not find the end zone until the start of the fourth quarter when Davis Wiggins rocketed the ball into a tight window finding Wright Rockett for a TD pass of 8 yards.
Following the Statesboro touchdown drive, South Effingham responded with a 40 yard touchdown run by Chris Glisson midway through the fourth quarter.
On Statesboro’s final drive the Blue Devils moved the ball into South Effingham territory but was unable to capitalize on a fourth and short, giving the ball back to the Mustangs were they would proceed the drain the clock out after a few rushes.
Tupac Lanier was the leading rusher for the Statesboro Blue Devils, accounting for 84 yards on 9 carries. The team all together had 129 rushing yards total on the evening.
Davis Wiggins was the leading passer for Statesboro even though Tupac Lanier saw majority of the snaps at quarterback. Wiggins went 6-10 for 46 yards and a TD, while Lanier went 1-7 for 14 yards.
“Our mission is what it has been all year long, each day our challenge and goal is to make improvements” Coach Pennington said.
Statesboro High will host Wayne County next week in what is the final game of the season.