Pirates send Cadets packing

Keyshawn Walker loses his helmet hitting a BENEDICTINE Cadet. Tyrell Gibson assists with the tackle.

The Appling County Pirates have now moved to 5-0 on the season after Friday night’s victory over the Benedictine Military School Cadets, of Savannah, 28-21. In non-region contests this year the Pirates, who play in AAA classification, have now defeated two AAAAAA, one AAAAA, and two AAAA schools. Appling is ranked in the top 10 in the state in all of AAA.

The team will now head into region play this week as they face the Blue Tide of Long County. This will also be the annual ACHS Homecoming game. Long County is 0-6 on the season and lost last week to Frederica Academy 31-7. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. and tickets may be purchased in advance at ACHS.

ACHS vs. Benedictine

The Pirates scored first Friday night when quarterback Jeremiah Holmes scored on a keeper from one-yard out to cap off a solid Appling offensive drive. Kicker Alex Garcia scored the extra point (PAT) and the score was 7-0 at the 1:14 mark in the first quarter.

The Cadets were next to score on a passing play, but there were questions if the receiver was actually in the end zone or out of bounds when he made the catch. Regardless, the referees who made several questionable calls during the game, credited the catch as a touchdown. Following a successful PAT, the score was 7-7 at the 10:17 mark in the second quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff Pirate Keyshawn Walker received the ball at the four-yard line and darted all the way down the field for an 96-yard Appling touchdown. The PAT was no good and the score was 13-7 at the 10:05 mark.

The Pirate and Cadet defensive units played hard the remainder of the first half as neither team could find the endzone.

During halftime the Pirate Brigade did not disappoint with its salute to our country’s greatest generation. The Pirate audience got to experience this year’s show in all its splendor, and following the performance, many in the audience gave the band a standing ovation.

The third quarter of the game was another great defensive battle between the two teams. The Cadets finally scored at the 8:13 mark in the fourth quarter capping a drive with a three-yard touchdown run. The PAT was good and the score was Appling 13, Benedictine 14.

The Pirate offense also got fired up in the fourth quarter. Big fullback Bryson Benton found an opening and even dragged a couple of Cadets along the way on his way to a 31-yard touchdown. Pirate Head Coach Rick Tomberlin then called on Keyshawn Walker to punch in a two-point conversion and Appling regained the lead at the 5:48 mark 21-14.

Benedictine offense answered back on its next possession and completed a good drive by scoring on a 14-yard passing play. After the PAT, the score was 21-21 with just 2:28 remaining in the game.

The Pirates then pushed the ball down the field in the closing minutes. QB Holmes rolled out and passed the ball to Jaylen Johnson. After the reception Johnson had a great run after the catch and scampered 32 yards into the endzone to give the Pirates the lead once again. Garcia’s kick was good the score was 28-21 with less than a minute to go in the ballgame.

Appling’s defense did an outstanding job keeping the Cadets from scoring on their last possession and the game ended without another score.

“We had a lot to be super proud of Friday night,” said Coach Rick Tomberlin. “That may have been one of the best teams we’ve ever played at home in a long time. Throughout thee game we overcame a number of issues and played a great fourth quarter. Our boys are going to fight until Hades freezes over and then fight them on ice. I am also proud of our assistant coaches this year. These guys work really hard and is probably the best staff I have ever worked with. I’d also like to thank our fans, the Pirate Brigade and Pirate cheerleaders for their support Friday night.”

STATISTICS

First downs – ACHS 19, BMS 25

Rushing – ACHS 40/283, BMS 32/149

Passing – ACHS 5/6/60, BMS 24/36/318

Total yards – ACHS 343, BMS 467

Penalties – ACHS 5/40, BMS 6/47

Time of possession – ACHS 27:51, BMS 20:09

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

PASSING – Jeremiah Holmes had five completions on six attempts for 60 yards. Jaylen Johnson had two receptions for 45 yards, Bryson Benton had two receptions for 8 yards and Sharode Roberts had one reception for 7 yards.

Rushing – Sharode Roberts had 11 rushes for 83 yards. Bryson Benton had 8 rushes for 85 yards. Jeremiah Holmes had 8 rushes for 46 yards. Jaylen Johnson had 6 rushes for 26 yards. Keyshawn Walker had 4 rushes for 25 yards.

Defense – Dennis Mims led all tacklers with 14 tackles. Sharode Roberts had 13 tackles. Taylan Crosby had 9 tackles. Tyrell Gibson had 8 tackles. Dawson Griffis had 6 tackles. Malik Rogers, Jamori Wright and Toby Taylor had 4 tackles each. Tyrone Simmons, Keyshawn Walker and Jarvis Mims had 3 tackles each.