The Statesboro Blue Devils have made great strides over the past two weeks, starting the season 2-0. Friday night the Warhawks of Veterans showed the Devils they still have a ways to go, holding Statesboro to only 34 yards rushing and shutting them out 21-0.
“Everybody in our community - which we love and appreciate their support - was telling our kids and each other that Statesboro is back,” Statesboro coach Jeff Kaiser said. “Statesboro is not back. This is a journey and a process of getting to where we want to be. We are a lot further along than we have been in a while, but we aren’t where we want to be.”
The Warhawk defense stacked the line and shut Statesboro’s rushing attack down. Davardrion Lipsey managed only 30 yards on 14 carries, while Jaylen Roberson was held to just one yard on 14 carries.
“They are by far the most physical defensive line we have seen,” Kaiser said. “What really disappoints me is that instead of biting down on the bit and getting after it physically up front we did not execute and were not physical.”
With the rushing game ineffective the Blue Devils were forced to do something they had only done once in the first two games, throw the ball. Quarterback Drake Horton completed five of 17 passes for 70 yards and had three interceptions.
“They forced us into doing what we don’t do, and that’s throwing the ball,” Kaiser said. “We had a few good spots there, but we threw too many interceptions, and we have to do a better job keeping the ball.”
Statesboro managed two first downs on their opening drive but were forced to punt. The Warhawks then marched downfield on an 11 play 75 yard drive that culminated in a 12 yard Sebastian Verger touchdown for a 7-0 lead.
The Blue Devil defense held strong through the rest of the half. Veterans tried a fake punt that the Blue Devils stopped, and Statesboro also recorded a fumble recovery at midfield by Flip Dixon.
The Blue Devil offense was unable to take advantage of field position on a couple occasions in the first half, having one drive end on an interception, and another on an unsuccessful fourth down attempt.
In the third quarter the Warhawks busted free for a big play, as Verger kept it on an option right, and streaked down the sidelines for a 47 yard touchdown and a 14-0 Veterans lead.
Horton was picked off twice in the third quarter, the first interception was returned 33 yards inside the Statesboro 20 yard line. That would set up the final score of the night as Cyrus Zuell busted up the middle for an 8 yard touchdown, and a 21-0 lead.
“We need to get things ironed out, and get our heads straight and understand what we need to do to get better,’ Kaiser said. “I have one hundred percent faith that our kids will come in Sunday afternoon and watch film, and come Monday ready to get better.”
The win improves Veterans record to 4-0 on the season, while the Blue Devils drop to 2-1. Up next Statesboro travels to Effingham County Friday for a 7:30 start.