By Jamie Gardner
The Appling County Pirates hosted the Westside High School Seminoles, of Macon, on Friday night for the Pirates first home game of the season at Jimmy Swain Stadium. The Pirates easily defeated the Seminoles by a score of 45-7.
Big fullback Justice Huntley got the scoring started for Appling County when he found an opening and darted 29 yards for a touchdown. Kicker Alex Garcia added the PAT and the score with 1:29 remaining in the first quarter was 7-0.
Early in the second quarter Westside got their only score of the evening on a six-yard pass play. The PAT was good and the score was 7-7 at the 9:26 mark.
Huntley struck again at the 4:50 mark in the second, this time scoring on a five-yard rushing play. The PAT was good and the score was 14-7.
With 2:43 remaining in the first half of play, Pirate QB Jeremiah Holmes connected with tight end Dawson Griffis for a huge 75-yard passing touchdown. Garcia tacked on the PAT and the score was 21-7, and would remain unchanged until halftime.
It was good to see the Pirate Brigade take to the field during the halftime break. The band did an outstanding job entertaining fans during the break. Speaking of fans, local support was tremendous for the Pirates.
In the second half of play it was all Appling. Holmes again connected with Griffis early in the second for a 37-yard passing touchdown. Garcia’s PAT was good making the score 28-7 at the 9:35 mark in the third.
Running back Jaylen Johnson got in on the scoring action with 2:18 remaining in the third quarter on a 22-yard rushing touchdown. The PAT was good and the score was 35-7.
In the fourth quarter, near the 9:10 mark, fullback Bryson Benton found an opening and scampered 12 yards for another Pirate touchdown. Garcia added the PAT making the score 42-7.
Near the end of the game, the second string offense got Garcia within range to attempt a field goal and the 20-yard kick was successful making the final score of the night 45-7.
The Pirates will travel to Statesboro High School on Friday night to face off against the Blue Devils. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. The Blue Devils are a 6-A school. They have lost their first two games of the season. The Devils played Swainsboro on Sept. 18, losing 12-6, and Houston County last week, losing 23-18. The Pirates have faced the Blue Devils a total of nine times and have a 2-7 record against Statesboro. In the last two meetings between the teams, the Pirates won in 2016, 21-14, and the Devils won in 2017, 21-28.
First downs – Appling 21, Westside 13
Rushing – Appling – 37att/311yds, Westside 30att/116yds
Passing – Appling – 8att/6com/203yds, Westside 21att/12com/143yds
Total yards – Appling 514, Westside 259
Penalties – Appling 5/38, Westside 7/47
Time of possession – Appling 22:00, Westside 26:00
Turnovers – Appling 1, Westside 3
Passing – Jeremiah Holmes had 7 attempts and completed 5 passes for 189 yards, Patrick Crosby had 1 attempt and completed 1 pass for 14 yards.
Receiving – Dawson Griffis had 2 receptions for 111 yards, Jaylen Johnson had 1 reception for 48 yards, Justice Huntley had 1 reception for 22 yards, James Nails had 1 reception for 14 yards and Sharode Roberts had 1 reception for 8 yards.
Rushing – Sharode Roberts had 8 rushes for 86 yards, Bryson Benton had 6 rushes for 35 yards, Jaylen Johnson had 5 rushes for 69 yards, Jeremiah Holmes had 4 rushes for 18 yards, Keyshawn Walker had 3 rushes for 37 yards, Justice Huntley had 3 rushes for 36 yards and James Nails had 3 rushes for 10 yards.
Defense – Jarvis Mims led all defenders with 12 tackles, Tyrell Gibson had 10, Taylan Crosby had 6, Sharode Roberts and Tyrone Simmons had 5 tackles each, Jose Martinez had 4, and Jamori Wright, Justice Huntley, Malik Rogers and Darris Smith had 3 tackles each.