What a game! The Appling County Pirate football team battled from behind in the closing minutes of Friday night’s game against the Wayne County Yellow Jackets to steal the homecoming game away from the Jackets at Jaycee Stadium in Jesup. The final score of the game was 23-20, and it was a battle between the Pirates (Region 1-AAA) and the Jackets (Region 1-AAAAA) from the start to the finish.
On the opening kickoff, Pirate kicker Alex Garcia placed a perfect pooch kick, and the Pirate kickoff special team members jumped on the ball at the Wayne 29-yard line. It would only take the Pirates one play to find the end zone as big fullback Bryson Benton burst through the line and punched it in from 29 yards out. Garcia tacked on the PAT and after just 10 seconds into the ballgame, Appling led 7-0.
Later in the first quarter, Wayne County got on the scoreboard with a field goal. The score at the 6:56 mark was 7 - 3.
In the second quarter near the 6:19 mark, a Jacket runner found an opening outside and darted 90 yards for a Wayne touchdown. The score was Appling 7, Wayne 10 at this point.
Wayne also scored another touchdown right before the halftime break to make the score Appling 7, Wayne 17 headed into the break.
In the third quarter the two teams both kicked a field goal, and heading into the final quarter of play, the score was 10 – 20.
However, the momentum shifted around the 4:45 mark in the final quarter of play when Pirate defensive back Jamori Wright intercepted a Yellow Jacket pass and ran the ball 70 yards down the field for a Pirate touchdown. Appling failed to convert a two-point conversion attempt and the score was 16 – 20.
Following a huge defensive stand by the Pirate defense, the Pirates got the ball back with time running out. With just 28 seconds remaining in the game, Pirate quarterback Jeremiah Holmes dropped back and fired a 17-yard pass to a diving Keyshawn Walker (receiver) for a Pirate touchdown. Garcia added the PAT to make the score 23-20.
The Jackets were not able to get anything going on offense in the final seconds of the game and the Pirates celebrated the victory.
This week the Pirates will return home to Jimmy Swain Stadium Friday night and face a tough Benedictine Academy (Region 3-AAAA) from Savannah. The Cadets are 5-1 on the season and suffered their only loss last week to Ware County High 43-21. The Pirates have faced the Cadets on two occasions prior to this year’s meeting. In the 2008 and 2009 the Pirates defeated the Cadets, 35 - 7 and 23 - 9.
Come out and show your support for the Pirates this week. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. No tickets will be sold at the gates on Friday night. Tickets may be purchased from ACHS at the front office Tuesday – Friday between the hours of 9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. or there will be a drive thru on Wednesday and Thursday from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
First downs – AC 10, WC 11
Rushing – AC 37/139, WC 39/248
Passing – AC 2/8/21, WC 2/6/11
Total yards – AC 160, WC 259
Turnovers – AC 1, WC 4
Penalties – AC 7/50, WC 8/84
Passing – Jeremiah Holmes completed 2 passes for 21 yards and one touchdown. Keyshawn Walker had one touchdown reception for 17 yards and Jaylen Johnson had one reception for 4 yards.
Rushing – Sharode Roberts had 14 rushes for 48 yards, Jeremiah Holmes had 9 rushes for 35 yards, Bryson Benton had 5 rushes for 38 yards and one touchdown, Keyshawn Walker had 5 rushes for 16 yards and Justice Huntley had 1 rush for 7 yards.
Defense – Jamori Wright had 9 tackles and 3 interceptions including running one back for a touchdown, Tyrell Gibson had 9 tackles, Dennis Mims and Taylan Crosby both had 8 tackles each, Sharode Roberts had 6 tackles, Keyshawn Walker had 3 and Darris Smith, Tyrone Simmons, Malik Rogers and Toby Taylor were credited with 2 tackles each.