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Statesboro drops road matchup at Ware County

Friday night in Waycross it was evident one team had two weeks to prepare while the other had two days, as Statesboro High (2-6, 0-2) looked lost and out of sync, while the Ware County Gators (5-2, 2-0) were sharp from the opening kickoff as they rolled past the Blue Devils winning 35-14.

Statesboro High was only able to practice Monday and Tuesday due to Bulloch County schools closing Wednesday and Thursday due to hurricane Michael. Meanwhile Ware County was coming off a bye week, and this week they had fall break and were able to practice every day.

“We didn’t handle the adversity of the weather issues this week too well,” said Statesboro coach Jeff Kaiser. “We didn’t have very much emotion, and we just weren’t ready to play."

The Blue Devils did show some signs of life in the second half.

 They scored two touchdowns to cut the lead to 28-13, and were driving with an opportunity to make it a one possession game, but an interception run back for a touchdown ended up being a 14 point swing, and sealed the deal for the Gator victory.

“I thought we played a little harder in the second half,” Kaiser said. “The kids played hard, we just lacked emotion, and that was a little disappointing.”

The Blue Devils dug themselves an early hole. After going three and out, the Statesboro punt was returned 55 yards by Jeremiah O’Hara to the Statesboro 8 yard line. Two plays later freshman quarterback Thomas Castellanos went in from four yards out for a 7-0 Ware County lead.

The score remained 7-0 until early in the second quarter. Castellanos rolled out to his right and found O’Hara for a four yard touchdown. The extra point failed and Ware County led 13-0.

Statesboro’s offensive struggles continued, and the Gators would mount another scoring drive. Lederic Castellanos took the hand off from his brother and cut across the field, breaking tackles for an impressive 38 yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion pass from Castellanos to O’Hara was good, and Ware County took a 21-0 halftime lead.

Statesboro came out of the half with a little more fire on offense. Drake Horton found a wide open Jaylin Roberson, who fought his way 34 yards down the field to the Gator 22 yard line for a first down. Roberson then capped the drive with a four yard touchdown run cutting the lead to 21-7.

Another Castellanos four yard touchdown extended the Gator lead to 28-7, but the Blue Devil offense responded again. A bad snap on a Gator punt gave Statesboro the ball on the Ware County 29 yard line. The Blue Devils turned that into points as Horton found Will Yawn in the flat, and he fought his way in for a four yard score. The extra point failed and the lead was cut to 28-13. 

The Statesboro defense held Ware County on their next drive, and again the Blue Devil offense moved down field. Statesboro got to the Ware County 30, but on third and six Horton was intercepted at the 25 by Devonte Lattimore, who would go 75 yards for the touchdown and the final score of a 35-13 Gator win.

Up next the Statesboro Blue Devils have a bye week before getting back to action Friday October 26 at home against South Effingham.