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Special teams helps lead HoCo past Statesboro

Houston County flipped.

Statesboro flopped.

The flip, in the Bears’ 23-18 win, came late in the second quarter. Houston County trailed 6-3 at the time. The Blue Devils scored on a 60-yard run by Jaydon Williams. The Bears answered with a 10-play drive that went 49 yards before stalling. Luke Rigby came in and made a 30-yard field goal.

After both had punted three times – a first down here, a first down there – Statesboro appeared headed for another score. It had gone from its own 20 to deep inside Houston County’s. There it stalled and lined up for a 37-yard field goal attempt. It was blocked. Caleb Coley picked it up and scampered – flipped the field – 75 yards for the score to turn the tables and the score. Rigby’s point after made it 10-6. That’s where it stood at the half.

Then came the flops.

Statesboro muffed the opening kickoff to start the third. The Bears recovered, murdered themselves on penalties – it wasn’t to be the first time – but still managed to get a 34-yard field goal from Rigby. That made it 13-6 with 10:28 left in the quarter.

The Blue Devils punted on their next possession. Houston County did likewise but again Statesboro turned it over.

The Bears recovered it on the host’s 33 and turned it into another Rigby 34-yard field goal. That made it 16-6 with 4:09 left in the third.

The Blue Devils punted again on their next possession. Houston County drove it down the field but turned it over itself this time. That came early in the fourth. Statesboro still struggled to move the ball, but Jalin Mikell’s 53-yard touchdown catch solved that. The point after was no good making it 16-12.

The Bears answered with a seven-play, 80-yard drive to make it 23-12. Simeon Askew’s 21-yard run – he had a 55-yard run into the endzone called back on the same drive – provided the touchdown.

The Blue Devils, with about two minutes left, put together a quick drive – converting a fourth-and-10 was one of the plays – and scored on a 25-yard pass to Darius Lipsey. They went for two. It failed.

They tried an onsides kick following. Houston County recovered it and ran out the rest of the clock.

It improved to 3-1 while Statesboro fell to 0-2.

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