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November 10, 2012

Tift falls 50-37 in shootout with Pirates

BRUNSWICK — It was the last game of the year for the Tift County Blue Devils and the Brunswick High Pirates here Friday night. Wanting to win to end the regular season, both teams battled to the end, but the Pirates ended up with more bullets in the shootout and won, 50-37.

The Devils received the opening kickoff and got out to the 48 and on the first play from scrimmage, they looked to be off to a hot start when Rashad Daniels burst for a nine yard run. However on the second play, Ryan Wedgeworth got the first down, but lost the handle and the Pirates jumped on the ball on Tift's 36. The turnover would not hurt, though, as the defense stiffened and held their opponents to a three-and-out.

Tift would receive the ball and pick up a first down on the legs of Daniels, but saw the momentum slide away when Wedgeworth was sacked on the next play. This time, Brunswick would take full advantage. It initially looked like the Devils would dodge a bullet when a long touchdown run by quarterback Cory Dixon was called back on holding, but they would not be denied again.

After consecutive completions by Dixon carried them down to the 10, Lavosh Wynn would run it in at 4:54 in the first. They would then go for two and would thrown an incompletion, but the Blue Devils were flagged for pass interference and on the second opportunity, Dixon would get into the endzone, giving his team an 8-0 lead.

The Devils would again move the ball on their next possession, picking up two first downs, but bogged down at the 39. Mason Gann would punt the Pirates down to the seven and the Pirates would be further knocked back on a sack. However Dixon proved again to be elusive and put his team on the move again on a 38-yard completion to Wynn on third down and 13.

Brunswick had advanced into Devils' territory to end the quarter and looked to be in position to score again, but Dixon found Tift's Charlie Massey on a pass instead of his own receiver.

This gave the Devils a boost and on the legs of Daniels and Gunnar Schemmel, moved from their own 15 down to the Pirates' one in 13 plays. Daniels would then squeeze through the middle for the final yard. The team would then decide to try their own two-point conversion and Wedgeworth would find a wide open Beau Bergeron to tie the score at 8 at 5:31 in the second quarter. Tift seemed to have everything going their way when 15 yards was tacked on for the kickoff when Bergerson was hit late.

The momentum would be short-lived. Taking over at their own 20, Brunswick needed only one play when Dixon found Wynn who turned on the jets and outran everyone to the endzone. Dixon would tack on two more on a completion to Javon Morton, making it 16-8 with only 13 seconds elapsed.

They would soon get the ball again when they held the Devils to a three and out and a short Gann punt. The Pirates were a bit slower this time, but still only needed three plays for Dixon to complete to Chris Trimmings for 12 yards. Trimmings would run in the conversion at 2:27.

Austin McCant provided a burst on the next possession with a 20 yard run to start and after a pair of incompletions and a penalty on the Pirates, Daniels would get the ball inside the 10. THe Devils would then give it to Schemmel who covered the last seven  yards. Frankie Mejia would add the point after to close it to 24-15 at 1:24.

Brunswick would pounce quickly and in three plays Dixon would again complete to Trimmings who took it 63 yards for the touchdown. The conversion would fail.

That 30-15 lead would carry the Pirates into the half.

Unlike the temperature, the Pirate offensive machine remained hot after the half. Dixon wasted no time, completing four of five passes for 63 yards, the final one going to Robert Baker, who scored from 29 yards out in a drive that lasted only 1:42. The conversion pass would miss, but Brunswick would increase their lead to 36-15.

The Blue Devils would fire back. Daniels started the drive with three straight rushes, then Wedgeworth got two more first downs on passes. He would then use his legs to get his team down to the eight, when Daniels pounded a 5-yard touchdown. Mejia's kick would make it 36-22 with 6:58 in the third.

Brunswick would switch to a mostly rushing attack on their next possession Dixon would complete two more passes to bring his yards to 388 on the night, but it would be Justin Clark who did most of the damage. Clark's carried it five times, the final time for a 2-yard score. Quarterback Dixon would run in the conversion on an option, making it 44-22.

Daniels and Schemmel would have big runs on the next drive, but an attempt at a reverse would see Austin McCant fumble and Pirate Rashad Mitchell recover. This time the Tift defense would be true and hold their opposition on downs at the Devil 42. A 30-yard burst by Daniels would start the next drive and end the third quarter.

Six plays  and 26 yards later, Daniels would score from the five. Mejia's kick sailed through the uprights and the Devils cut the lead back down to 14, 44-30.

The Pirates would again turn to Clark to make their way down the field, but once they got down to the 15, they would turn to new quarterback Tyrai Morris-Barber, who found Trimmings in the endzone for the 15-yard touchdown. A conversion pass failed, but the score was now 50-30 with 6:25 remaining.

Tift would not be finished. After an exchange of punts, Kris Miller entered as quarterback completed two long passes, one to Bergeron for 23 yards and on the next play, a 38-yard touchdown scoring strike to Jacori McCoy with just 40 seconds left. Mejia kicked another extra point to bring the score to 50-30, which would be the final.

For Brunswick, Dixon completed 18 of 25 passes for 388 yards. Daniels finished out his Blue Devil career with 203 yards on 28 carries and three touchdowns.

Tift County finishes their season with a 2-8 record, Brunswick 4-6.


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