The Ware County Gators were their own worst enemy in last nights season opening loss to 6A Glynn Academy. Three turnovers in a game of evenly matched teams will most often result in defeat. The Gators will begin preparation for next weeks rival game with Coffee County.
Alabama's Nick Saban once said "What happened yesterday is history. What happens tomorrow is a mystery. What we do today makes a difference - the precious present moment." The Gators are resilient and will work hard to get better.
Story compliments of Rick Head and the Waycross Journal Herald.
BRUNSWICK — Turnovers, untimely penalties and poor tackling — all were part of a recipe for disaster. Sixth-ranked Ware County suffered through all three in falling 31-7 to Glynn Academy Friday night at Glynn County Stadium. It was the season opener for the Gators while the Red Terrors were evening their record at 1-1. "Turnovers were a big part of what happened," said a dejected Franklin Stephens afterwards. "Glynn Academy out physicaled us, out manned us, out coached us, out blocked us, out rushed us, out tackled us — that's the recipe for losing a game. There is a lot of room for improvement. "There comes a time when you (player) do what you have to do to dominate and win a game. Tonight we were just participating in a game. That's not what you do if you want to be a part of the elite programs in the state." After managing just 82 yards rushing in its opening night loss to defending Class AA champion Benedictine, Glynn Academy pounded the ball with determination at the Gators' defense. The Red Terrors rushed for 315 yards on 52 attempts averaging a shade over six yards per clip. Senior Caine Crews was the workhorse finishing with a game-high 139 yards on 20 carries. Quarterback Raymond Jernigan was next with 12 carries for 66 yards. Most of his yardage came on quarterback keeps on the option. "It's up to our defense to get after and get stops," said Stephens. "They (Red Terrors) got after us. Their offensive line opened up holes, their backs ran hard and they ran through tackles. There's no excuse ... we've got to get better faster because our schedule doesn't allow us to feel sorry for ourselves." Glynn Academy took the opening drive the length of the field needing 14 plays to cover 78 yards eating up 5:58 of the first period clock. The Red Terrors were 3-of-4 converting on third down. They used a trick play on the fourth snap of the game to set the tone.
Facing fourth-and-six from its own 26, Glynn Academy faked the punt with up back Hunter Hall barreling his way for a 22-yard gain out to the Red Terror 48. Crews carried on six of the final nine plays in the drive that ended with Josh Woodard's 20-yard jaunt of an option pitch around the right side. The play followed a Woodard touchdown run on the option around the left side from 15 yards that was wiped out by a holding penalty. Jack Podelsney tacked on the PAT for a 7-0 lead midway through the first period. The Gators responded overcoming two penalties in an eight play, 73-yard drive consuming the next 4:01 on the game clock. Jeremiah O'Hara (22 carries, 134 yards), in his first career start at quarterback, capped the drive with a 41-yard scamper, his fifth carry in the series. Freshman Robert Jacobs split the uprights with his first-ever kick tying the game at 7-apiece with 2:01 to play in the opening stanza. Ware County, which lost one fumble during last year's 12- game season, lost two on consecutive possessions and three total for the game. The Gators also struggled moving the ball finishing with 223 yards of total offense.
The Red Terrors were unable to take advantage of the first miscue recovered at the Ware County 30. Glynn Academy would capitalize on the second. Glynn drove from the Gators' 33 down to the four before bogging down and having to settle for a 21-yard chip shot off the strong leg of Podelsney. The kick came with 1:15 remaining in the half giving the Red Terrors the lead for good at 10-7. Glynn Academy took control of the game in the second half scoring on its first two possessions. The Red Terrors needed five plays to cover 42 yards following Crews' 21-yard punt return following a three-and-out by Ware County. Jernigan kept on the option around the left side scoring from 16 yards out with 6:50 showing on the third quarter clock. Podelsney's PAT upped the margin to 17-7. Hall's second fumble recovery of the night, this one at the Ware County 40, set up a quick three play, 40-yard scoring strike. Crews ripped off a 33-yard gain on the second play to the Gators' two. He fumbled the ball away fighting for the end zone on the next snap with offensive lineman Shane Wells falling on the ball for the score. Podelsney kicked the PAT extending the margin to 24-7 with 2:03 remaining in the third quarter. After three consecutive three and-outs by the two teams, the Red Terrors put together their final scoring drive of the night. A 10-play (nine straight rushes), 77- yard drive eating up 5:08 in the final period ended with a 13-yard rumble by Caden Hutchinson with 3:01 to play. Podelsney was true for the fourth time finishing out the scoring.
"We'll (coaches) look at the film and start making corrections," said Stephens. "We have a lot of corrections. We'll do a lot of work on fundamentals. We've got to play hard and do things right." Ware County travels to Douglas next week to face Coffee High. The Trojans' home game with Brunswick High was postponed and will be played today at 6 p.m.
GAME TICKETS FOR NEXT WEEK'S GAME:
Ware County vs. Coffee County Tickets will be available in the high school ticket office beginning Tuesday morning. Advance tickets are $8. All tickets at the gate are $10.
Jeremiah O'Hara scampers for Ware County Touchdown...
9th Grader Robert Jacobs makes his first career PAT as a Gator. Good Hold by Senior Acy Paulk.
Logan Braucht and Trey Cobb make tackle...
Ken Standley makes perfect tackle on Glynn quarterback...