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For the second straight week, the Vidalia Indians found themselves down by two scores in the second half and then clawed their way back, only to come up short, falling to Bleckley County 26-13 Friday night in Cochran.

The Indians opened the game with a drive that took the ball from their 40-yard line to the Bleckley 26 yard line, with the big play being a 25-yard pass play from Bryce Davis to Jacaree Washington. But the Bleckley County defense would stiffen and force a 4th and 2 from the 26, which the Indians couldn’t convert, resulting in a turnover on downs.

The Royals would then drive the ball into Vidalia territory only to see the Indian defense repay the favor, stopping Bleckley on a 4th down and taking over on downs. Neither team produced much offense the rest of the quarter, exchanging punts, and the quarter ended at 0-0.

The Royal offense would then get untracked in the 2nd quarter. Beginning their first possession of the quarter at their 25-yard line, Bleckley County would go 75 yards in six plays, with TJ Mays capping the drive with a 32-yard touchdown run. The extra point was good, and with 8:38 to go in the half, the Royals led 7-0.

Both teams would again exchange punts on their next possessions. Then with 4:40 to go in the half, the Indians would begin a drive at their 18-yard line and move the ball all the way to the Royal 29 yard line before the drive would stall, bringing up a 4th down with 35 seconds to go in the half. Senior kicker Tate McDaniel was then called upon to attempt a 46-yard field goal, which he booted long and accurate, cutting the Royal lead to 7-3 and giving McDaniel a school-record 46 yard Field Goal.

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The 3rd quarter saw Bleckley County score on their first two possessions to give them a 20-3 lead with 4:42 to go in the quarter. The first came on a Jahvon Butler 17 yard run to make it 14-3 following the PAT. And the second came following an Indian three and out on an Eli Mullis 10 yard run to make it 20-3 following a blocked PAT with 4:43 to go in the quarter.

But that’s when the Indians would begin the comeback. With the ball on their own 30-yard line, following an incomplete pass, Bryce Davis would fake a jet sweep to Antonio Barron and run 70 yards to pay-dirt and cut the lead to 20-10 following McDaniel’s PAT with 4:23 to go in the quarter.

The Indians would cut further into the lead beginning the 4th quarter with possession of the ball and driving to the Bleckley 19 yard line. But again, the Indians could not convert on 3rd down and would once again call upon McDaniel. This time the senior was true from 37 yards, and the Royal lead was down to one score 20-13 with 10:42 to go in the game.

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But that was as close as the Indians would get, as Bleckley County would seal the deal two possessions later, going 95 yards in 12 plays with Butler scoring his second touchdown of the night on a 4-yard run to close out the game 26-13 after a failed PAT, with 2:25 to go in the game.

The Indians managed just 206 yards of offense on the night, with 70 yards coming on Davis’s TD. Davis, who ended up with 97 yards on the ground and 76 passing (7 of 17) found himself under constant pressure by the Bleckley defense all night long and was sacked four times. Jacaree Washington finished the night with 3 catches for 40 yards, while Freshman AJ McLendon added 27 yards on 8 carries. Bleckley County ended the night with 358 yards, including 266 on the ground. Brandon Beasley led the way defensively with 10 tackles. The story of the Indian’s night offensively was their inability to convert on 3rd down, where they were just 2 of 11 (18.2%). Meanwhile, Bleckley County converted 6 of 11 (55%).

With the loss, the Indians fall to 0-2 and, for just the 2nd time in school history (1930-31), begin 0-2 in back-to-back seasons. The Indians will try and right the ship Friday night in Augusta when they face The Academy of Richmond County, who fell to Evans Friday night 26-18. Game time is set for 7:30.

(Courtesy of Vidalia High School) (Pictures by Carroll Williams)

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