It isn’t normally news when Statesboro High wins a football game. The Blue Devils rank No. 14 on the list of Georgia’s winningest high school programs.
But win No. 616 is one of the most notable in a long time.
That’s because the 28-21 victory over Appling County ended a 16-game losing streak for the proud program. It had been nearly two years since Statesboro’s last week. The Blue Devils were winless last season and hadn’t won since beating Bradwell Institute 13-10 on Oct. 16, 2015.
“The look on those boys’ faces made it every bit of worthwhile,” first-year Statesboro coach Jeff Kaiser told the Statesboro Herald. “I told them after the loss last week that the win was coming. They just had to hang on.”
The key sequence came when Statesboro halted an Appling County drive near the goal and stripped the ball away. The Blue Devils answered with a 95-yard drive to stretch their lead to two scores.
Statesboro has been on the cusp of victory all season. They lost by two points to Liberty County and lost by four to Effingham County. The Devils were finally able to get across the finish line on Friday night, setting off an on-field celebration that lasted for nearly an hour.
The scenario wasn’t quite as happy at Griffin, where the No. 8-ranked Bears were ripped 40-16 by Whitewater. Griffin couldn’t stop Whitewater quarterback Maddox Muller, who ran for three touchdowns and passed for another in the Region 3 opener.
It was a nice bounce-back win for Whitewater after last week’s 21-14 overtime loss at Chapel Hill and puts the Wildcats in the middle of the playoff hunt. The loss for Griffin ramps up the importance of next week’s game against No. 7 Starr’s Mill.
Other big games on Friday:
No. 7 Jones County improves to 5-0: The Greyhounds got 174 yards rush and three touchdowns from Drake Bolus and 116 yards rushing and 74 yards passing from Teldrick Ross in beating Eagle's Landing 34-26. Bolus scored the game-winning touchdown on an 11-yard run with two minutes left. Eagle's Landing quarterback Cameron Lewis threw for 305 yards and two touchdowns.
Easy win for No. 1 Rome: The state champions led 49-0 at the half and coasted to a 62-0 win over Paulding County. The Wolves host No. 4 Carrollton next week at Barron Stadium in a game that could determine the Region 7 championship.
No. 5 Warner Robins passes West Laurens: Quarterback Dylan Fromm hooked up with Julius Cobbs for three touchdowns and the Demons rolled to a 31-9 win. Fromm now has 14 touchdown passes, seven of them to Cobbs. Markel Locke got the other touchdown on a short run and Eli Mashburn kicked a field goal.
No. 7 Starr's Mill turns back Morrow: Starr's Mill had the matter settled by halftime, when the Panthers had a 42-12 lead. They rolled on to win 49-24. Starr's Mill has a big showndown next week against Griffin.
No. 9 Kell wins game, loses QB: The Longhorns rolled to a 28-10 win over Cass, but lost quarterbac Evan Conley to a hand injury early in the game. Kell opted to keep the ball on the ground the rest of the night and relied on the legs of Josiah Futral (126 yards) and Dre Houston (95 yards).
Maynard Jackson derails Banneker: Jackson handed Banneker its first loss of the season, 27-10 at Grady Stadium. Banneker was trying to start the season 5-0 for the first time in school history.
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