Horror stories involving Fridays, 13s and Jasons will be left for fictional works this year. The Tift County Blue Devils scored only three minutes after the opening gun and only punted once as they they dominated the Worth County Rams, 49-14, to run their record to 3-0. Worth fell to 1-2.
Like they had all season, the Blue Devils offense was led by a trio of players — Malik Henry, Ryan Wedgeworth and Ladarius Stewart — as the squad racked up an incredible 594 total yards. Wedgeworth would be the man responsible for most of it. He had a career best 285 passing yards, completing 12 of 15 for three touchdowns, and ran for 114 more and a score on a mere seven carries.
Stewart had 116 total yards and two touchdowns (one receiving, one rushing) while Henry had 119 yards receiving for a pair of scores. He added another touchdown on a 39-yard run in the second quarter.
There was a moment of horror early in the game.
Worth's opening kickoff was deep and the Devils had a time with it. Stewart bobbled it, leaving Henry to pick it up, but he was quickly pulled down at the six. A shaky start, but one that would quickly be corrected. Wedgeworth came out passing and would be on target. The first play of the drive was a strike to Henry for a 14-yard first down and the offense would be in total control.
The only falter was one that initially cost them dearly. Stewart caught a pass for a 63-yard score, but Tift would be called for a block in the back at the 15, negating the six points. Four plays later, that would be fixed when Wedgeworth hooked up with Stewart again for an eight-yard touchdown with barely three minutes gone. Frankie Mejia's right foot would be busy all night and he nailed the first extra point try.
Four Worth plays later, they had the ball again and Wedgeworth increased his completion streak to eight straight. The final one went to Henry, who galloped 48 yards for their second touchdown at 3:59. The Devils had gone 79 yards in only five plays.
The Rams had a first down on their next possession, but were backed up by a sack by Berry Bennett. They escaped a further soaking, though; a trio of sprinklers briefly fired up on fourth down.
Wedgeworth needed even fewer plays on the next drive. He would take the ball himself and follow his blockers on a 63-yard scamper. Mejia's was good for his third kick and it was 21-0 after the first quarter. Wedgeworth had 102 rushing yards at the half on only five carries.
The score would increase by seven more as they would score on their fourth consecutive drive after Rams quarterback Tay Curry lost the handle on a snap at the Devils 40. This time, it was Henry at 8:28, on a 39-yard run.
Down 28, Worth would finally find the full measure of their offense. Taking advantage of a Devils personal foul and well-timed first downs, they moved from their 35 down to the six, where Quantavious Sweney punched it in at 5:18 and Aaron Sinclair added the point after kick to put them on the board.
However, they still had to deal with the Devil offense. After a 27-yard connection between Wedgeworth and Tarik White, it was back to the rushing game. An initial run by Stewart was followed by a pair from Brian Bennett, the last one going for the 13-yard score.
Worth punted, but Tift County would be stopped for the first time on the wildest play of the night. Gunner Schemmel would fumble on a tackle. The Rams picked it up and began running the opposite way, but the ball would come loose again as the runner was brought down. Worth fell on it to finally establish possession at the Devils 28.
With precious little time remaining in the half, the Rams made the most of it. Curry twice moved the sticks with big runs, the last landing them on the two. They called timeout, then handed it off to Sweney, who pushed through for the score as time expired. Tift was up 35-14 at the break.
Back in business in the third, Tift stayed on the ground and used four different rushers and picked up four first downs. Stewart got it on the final carry and scored from three yards out.
Tift would wrap up the scoring for the evening one drive later. Getting the ball at their own 32 following a Sinclair punt, Wedgeworth would be stopped for no gain on a run. He then found Malik Pittman for an 11-yard pass. One snap later, it was Henry again as he went in for a 57-yard touchdown at 3:53.
John Reid, who had been rotating his players all night, pulled the remainder of his starting offense after Worth was stopped again. Michael Hancock went in at quarterback and Bennett, Schemmel and Rodney Gaines would share duties at tailback.
The Devils had one last opportunity to score on fourth-and-goal from the five, but Reid elected to have Hancock kneel down.
Worth was led by Brandon Gibson's 73 rushing yards on nine carries. Sweney's two touchdowns were paired with 58 yards on 14 carries. Curry would complete three of five passes for 31 yards. They had 238 total yards.
Tift County goes to Thomas County Central next Friday. Worth travels to Dougherty.