SKIPPERVILLE - Class 2A No. 6 ranked G.W. Long started off fast and never let up Friday night in its 2A, Region 2 showdown with Geneva County.
The Rebels seized a 21-0 lead in a dominating first quarter and rolled to a 41-7 victory over the Bulldogs to remain on top in 2A, Region 2.
The outcome sets up a winner take all-region showdown next with Abbeville (5-1 in region) for the unbeaten Rebels (7-0, 6-0).
Geneva County (6-2, 4-2), which plays at Zion Chapel next week, still has a shot at second place in the region and a first-round state playoff game, but needs Long to beat Abbeville for that to happen.
The Rebels had all three phases of the game contributing in big ways Friday.
The offense rolled up 414 yards (408 on the ground), the defense contained the potential explosive Geneva County offense and standout Emmanuel Henderson (16 carries, 49 yards), while earning three turnovers, one for a touchdown, and kicker Tanner Patton kicked two field goals.
Hunter Whitehead scored on a 48-yard fumble return and an 18-yard run, quarterback Kobie Stringer scored on runs of 1 yard and 74 yards, Jackson Chancey on a 3-yard run and Patton had field goals of 32 and 38 yards for the Rebels.
Geneva County’s lone score came on a 6-yard Will Birdsong to Chico Cotton touchdown pass.
G.W. Long raced to its 21-0 lead by the end of the first quarter off a combination of drives, big plays and stout defense.
First, it was a time-consuming march for the Rebels. Then it was a quick burst before the defense stole the show.
After the Rebel defense forced a three-and-out to open the game, the Rebels methodically went 89 yards in 11 plays – all running plays – in 6 minutes and 48 seconds before Chancey scored on a 3-yard counter to the left side.
G.W. Long consistently chewed up six or more yards on most plays in the drive behind its powerful offensive line with Stringer, Morris and Chancey carrying the load. Chancey ripped off runs of 14 and 19 yards up the middle and finished with 42 yards in the series.
Patton added the point after kick after the touchdown to make it 7-0 with 3:19 left in the quarter.
The Long defense forced another three-and-out and the Rebel offense quickly added to the lead on the ensuing possession.
Morris took a handoff on the opening play 51 yards down the right sideline before dragged out of bounds at the Geneva County 20. A Bulldog horse collar penalty on the tackle moved it to the 10.
On the next play, Stringer faked a wide receiver speed sweep and went up the middle for 9 yards to the 1. He then scored on the ensuing play off the right end. Patton’s point after kick then made it 14-0 with 49.3 seconds in the quarter.
The Rebels, though, weren’t done in the first quarter, thanks to their defense.
On the second Bulldog play, Long’s Whitehead ripped the football out of the hands of a Geneva County ball carrier at the right edge, turned around with nobody in front of him and raced 48 yards for a touchdown. Patton’s PAT kick made it 21-0 with 4.4 seconds left in the quarter.
Geneva County’s offense, which had only two first downs in its first four series, finally got untracked late in the second quarter, scoring on a 10-play, 54-yard drive.
A 30-yard Birdsong to Cotton completion on 3rd-and-15 sparked the drive and the two hooked up on the touchdown on a 6-yard pass with Birdsong faking a handoff inside and hitting Cotton, who got behind Rebel defenders in the back of the end zone.
The extra point kick was good as Geneva County cut it to 21-7 with 1:46 to go in the second quarter.
But the first-half excitement wasn’t over yet.
Sparked by runs of 10 yards by Morris and 27 by Stringer, the Rebels moved to the Bulldog 15 for a 32-yard Patton field goal with 32.3 seconds left.
There was still more drama left in the half, though.
With 15.5 seconds left and facing a 2nd-and-6 at the GW Long 46 on their second play of the next series, the Bulldogs threw a hook-and-ladder play with Birdsong hitting Colby Fuller, who flipped it back to a trailing Henderson, who had room outside.
Henderson dodged a few tacklers and cut back inside near the 25, but had a teammate trying to work toward a block hold him momentarily and Long’s Dalton Caraway came from behind and tackled Henderson at 1-yard line as time ran out in the half.
The Rebels were penalized for a dead ball unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the play, but it was tacked onto the second half kickoff as the Rebels maintained a 24-7 halftime lead.
G.W. Long quickly ended any Geneva County comeback thoughts by taking the second half’s first series 64 yards in three plays for a score. Morris ignited the series with a 35-yard run on the first play and Whitehead scored on a wide receiver speed sweep – a play that hurt Geneva County throughout the night – for an 18-yard touchdown run with 10:52 left in the third quarter to make it 31-7.
In the fourth quarter, Patton converted a 32-yard field goal and Stringer ripped off a 74-yard TD run with 9:20 left to make the final 41-7.
Be the first to know
Get local news delivered to your inbox!