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Statesboro blanks Effingham County
SHS Football
Statesboro running back Aundrell Grace gets pass the Effingham County defense for big yards late in the first half of the Blue Devils' win in Springfield. - photo by GILBERT MILLER/Herald correspondent

The Statesboro Blue Devils continued one streak, and snapped another Friday night in Springfield as they knocked off Effingham County 35-0. The Blue Devils won their third straight game for the first time since 2013, and snapped a five game losing streak to the Rebels, beating them for the first time since 2011

“Credit to our kids, and credit to our coaches,” said Statesboro coach Jeff Kaiser. “I was worried about a big game hangover, but our kids came out and they just play hard. We reminded our kids we were up big at halftime last time we came here. Last week this Effingham team scored 21 points in the second half, so the emphasis to our kids at the half was to finish, and they did.”

The last time the Blue Devils played in Springfield they blew a 28-7 halftime lead, and allowed the Rebels to come back to win a 38-34 contest. Friday night, the Blue Devil had another 21-point halftime lead, but the defense prevented any thought of a comeback, as they came up with three second half turnovers and completed the shutout.

The Statesboro offense moved the ball successfully throughout the first half, while the defense held the Rebel offense in check, allowing only one first down the entire half, and limiting the Rebels to 139 totla yards in the game.

The Blue Devils started the game getting three straight first downs, but the drive ended as Jaylin Roberson fumbled at the Rebel 45. Roberson easily made up for that miscue as he rushed for 175  yards and three touchdowns the rest of the half. Roberson ended the game with 262 yards rushing, while Aundrell Grace added 121 yards.

Pinned at their own two-yard line Drake Horton handed to Roberson who sprinted down the sidelines 80-yards to the Rebel 18-yard line. Davardrian Lipsey then made a nice 15-yard run to the Rebel three, and Roberson finished the drive with a three-yard score, Cody Parker’s extra point gave Statesboro a 7-0 lead with 1:08 to go in the first quarter.

The Blue Devil defense held the Rebels on their next drive and the offense was able to take advantage of a short field. Roberson broke free on a 16-yard touchdown to finish an eight play drive, and the Blue Devils took a 14-0 lead with 11:26 left in the first half.

The Blue Devils added one more score before the half as they once again took advantage of a short field, provided by the defense causing another three and out. Roberson added his third score of the game, this one on a one-yard run for a 21- 0 Blue Devil halftime lead.

In the second half, the Blue Devils moved the ball downfield, but were only able to score one offensive touchdown. And for the second week in a row, the defense finished things off by scoring the final points of the game.

The Statesboro defense recovered a lateral pass early in the third quarter, giving the offense another short field. The offense then capitalized as Lipsey took off up the middle for a 17-yard touchdown and a 28-0 Statesboro lead with 8:59 to go in the third.

Neither team really moved the ball too much for the next 15 minutes, until late in the fourth, when the Blue Devils looked like they scored again. Roverson took off on a long run down the sidelines and it looked as though he hit the pylon at the goal line for a touchdown, but the refs ruled that he fumbled through the end zone for a touchback, and Effingham took over at their own 20.

The defense made up for the points missed, as Brendan Jackson made a leaping interception, and weaved his way through the Rebel offense nicely, diving into the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown and the final points of the game.

“The kids have bought into the work ethic, and the expectations,” Kaiser said. “Our coaches all did a wonderful job tonight, and I couldn’t be prouder for them. Now it’s time to get back to work and get ready for another undefeated team.

Next up for Statesboro is a home date against 4-0 West Laurens at Womack Field next Friday.

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