It’s rare that a Statesboro football team faces a running clock in the fourth quarter, but having -21 yards rushing and a total of 14 total yards of offense may be a first. That was the sad, but true story Friday in Waynesboro as Statesboro was shut out by Burke County 34-0 and falls to 1-4 on the season as they wrap up non-region play.
Adding insult to injury the Blue Devils were flagged for five personal fouls and had a player ejected from the game. After the game head coach Matt Dobson spent quite a bit of time with the officiating crew trying to get clarification for a few of the calls. When asked his thoughts on the number of penalties the Blue Devils were called for Dobson simply stated “no comment” as his reply.
“We played a lot of young guys tonight and we didn’t execute well,” Dobson said. “We are going to be asking those young guys to step up and play due to different circumstances and they have to be ready to play, and we have to do a better job of getting them ready to play.”
Dobson made quite a few changes this week including starting Kam Mikell at quarterback for the first time this season. Mikell played for all but the final series of the game, with former quarterback Bruce Yawn lining up at tight end, and at an H-back position for most of the night.
Mikell had his struggles on the ground where he rushed 14 times for -46 yards which included negative yards for sacks. He did complete 6 of 8 passes for 35 yards. Statesboro ended the game with three first downs. Burke had 131 yards rushing to -21 for Statsesboro while the Bears added 123 yards passing to 35 for the Blue Devils.
The two teams played a scoreless first quarter, but the Bears were able to start the scoring early in the second. Quarterback Sean Vandiver found a wide-open Jensen Brantley for a nine-yard score on third and goal to go up 7-0. After another three-and-out by the Statesboro offense Vandiver found Brantley all alone once again for a 37-yard touchdown and a 13-0 Bear lead which they’d take into halftime.
Things didn’t start out too well in the second half as Rondarius Gray fielded the ball on his own 31-yard line and took off down the sidelines 69-yards for a touchdown and a 20-0 Burke County lead.
“We came out of the half down only 14-0,” Dobson said. “I thought that kickoff return was the pivotal part of the game. It really took the wind out of our sails.”
The Bears would tack on two more touchdowns by Brantley to go up 34-0. On the ensuing kickoff it looked as though the Blue Devils may have at least one bright spot. Kyan Mccollum fielded the ball at his own 12-yard line and sprinted past the Bears for an apparent 88-yard score, but an illegal block in the back 15-yards behind the play resulted in the touchdown being nullified, and the Blue Devils failed to score the rest of the game with a running clock the entire fourth quarter.
Dobson refused to say whether or not he planned on using Mikell or Yawn at quarterback the rest of the year but is going to try and make some decisions during the Blue Devils bye week which is this Friday.
“We are going to watch some film and do some assessments,” Dobson said. “Our bye week comes at a good spot as we have some time to make our decisions and get ready for region play.”
Statesboro opens region play Oct. 6 at home against Greenbrier.