The night was filled with the feeling of fall and a high school football rivalry that has become massive over the last few years. The Tigers decked out in their unstained white on white uniforms took the field against highly rated Statesboro in the "Battle of the Boros."
Penalties crippled the Tigers Friday as the were penalized seven times for 54 yards compared to Statesboro's three penalties for 15 yards.
The defenses dominated the entire first half of play as the score was 0-0 at halftime. Albert Webb recorded 44 yards on 13 carries in the first half while Cason DeVane was 1-2 passing for four yards in the first two quarters.
The only true attempt at a score in the first half came late in the second quarter as the Blue Devils attempted a 34 yard field goal that was no good.
With the second half came more action. Swainsboro's Leroy Ball picked up a Blue Devil fumble and returned it 50 yards for the score to put the Tigers up 7-0 after DeVane drilled the extra point. With the way the game was shaping up it looked as if one touchdown from either side would ice a win.
Wrong again, Statesboro fired back with a touchdown of their own in the fourth quarter and a good extra point to tie the game at seven. In the fourth the Blue Devils attempted two field goals, both of which fell well short of the goal post. DeVane attempted a field goal late in the fourth that was wide right.
Punter Ashley Denney had another stong showing with six punts with an average of 36.3 yards per punt. Denney had two punts over 40 yards for the second time this season with no blocks.
Albert Webb led the Tigers rushing attack with a total of 140 yards on 33 carries to bring his season total to 260 yards on 64 carries for an average of just over four yards per carry. Swainsboro totaled 150 yards on 42 attempts to out rush the Blue Devil offense by five yards. DeVane finished the night 3-6 in the passing column for 18 yards. Raja Andrews led the Tigers on the receiving end of the ball with one catch for eight yards.
Swainsboro's defense held the highly rated Statesboro offense, that scored 20 points on the 2002 AAA State Champions Screven County a week ago in Sylvania, to seven points at home. Tavares Jones played up to the pre-season hype that he would be one of the best linebackers in the area by recording an impressive 10 solo tackles and eight assists. Raja Andrews another pre-season standout lived up to his older brother's (Brandon Andrews, Swainsboro High School all-time rushing yard leader) reputation, only on the other side of the ball with seven solo tackles. Justin Moore recorded five solo tackles while Leroy Ball had the best game of his varsity career making four solo tackles and scoring the Tigers only touchdown on a fumble recovery from his cornerback position.
Markie Ford standout linebacker was injured in the first quarter of play. Before his injury he recorded two solo tackles and three assists. Team trainers say Ford's outlook is "positive, he should return to the field soon."
Swainsboro, (0-0-2) now coming off two ties in a row will travel to Sandersville to face the number one ranked team in AAA, Washington County who features 26 seniors this season. Kickoff is set for Friday night , Sept. 19 at 7:30 p.m.
--(Statistics courtesy of Jerry Lawson, Jerry Lawson Jr. and Danny "The Stat Cat" Henry.)