By Kevin Price
For GCS Athletics
The Glynn Academy Red Terrors now have a chance to win another region football championship.
And they have that opportunity after knocking off fifth-ranked and heavily-favored Richmond Hill 7-5 Friday night with a sterling defensive effort that stymied the Wildcats offense the night long in the key Region 2-AAAAAA game at Glynn County Stadium.
“Our kids played their butts off tonight,” said Glynn coach Rocky Hidalgo who led the Terrors to four straight region crowns from 2015-18. “Our coaches have done a great job coaching our kids the last five or six weeks, and our kids have done a great job of buying in. There’s a lot of want to in our program, and I’m proud of all the hard work our kids and our coaches have put in the last five weeks.”
Glynn’s victory over the Wildcats (7-2), who came to Brunswick as a 20-point favorite, created a three-way tie atop the league standings with two weeks remaining in the regular season.
The Terrors, Wildcats and Brunswick Pirates all have one loss each in region games. Glynn lost to Brunswick in their annual meeting and Brunswick fell at Richmond Hill just last week.
Glynn is off next week and will close the season schedule on Nov. 20 with its final region game at Statesboro. Richmond Hill finishes its schedule next Friday against South Effingham. The Pirates have games remaining at Bradwell Institute next week and Effingham on Nov. 20 at home.
All three teams will be favored to win their remaining games and stay tied in the standings. Because they beat each other in their head-to-head meetings, the next tiebreaker to determine the region champion and top seed for the playoffs is points allowed in region games between the teams in the tie with a maximum of 25 points charged to a team in any one game.
The tiebreaker favors the Terrors who have given up 29 points in the games with the Pirates and Wildcats. They lost 24-21 to Brunswick.
Richmond Hill has given up 32, allowing the max of 25 to Brunswick and the seven to Glynn. Brunswick allowed 46, giving up the max of 25 to Richmond Hill and 21 in its win over the Terrors.
Had Richmond Hill won Friday’s game, the Wildcats would have clinched the region championship a second straight season.
If Glynn were to lose to Statesboro in two weeks, the Wildcats would again win the title if they did defeat South Effingham next week even if Brunswick did win its final two games because they topped the Pirates in their head-to-head contest.
“I told the kids after the game to quit talking about a region championship,” Hidalgo said. “We’ve gotta go beat Statesboro.”
The Terrors basically had to reconstruct their team after players were lost for the season on offense and defense due to injuries and other reasons. Only three players – quarterback TJ Lewis, running back Caden Hutchinson and receiver Jayden Drayton – are playing the same position they were on offense when Glynn opened the season back in early September.
On defense, Glynn’s linebacking corps has been hampered by injuries sine the start but is relatively healthy again while the secondary was ravished by injuries early on and had to be completely revamped.
“It was like having spring practice all over again,” said Hidalgo who saw his team fall to 2-3 overall with the loss to rival Brunswick High in the City Championship Game which also was the first region game.
The Terrors have not lost since, reeling off four consecutive wins in region action to improve to 6-3 overall and 4-1 in the league. They had scored more than 30 points in each of their three previous victories and had not given up more than 14 going into Friday’s game.
Glynn’s defense gave up just a field goal to a struggling South Effingham offense back on Oct. 23 before shutting out Effingham, which also is having trouble scoring this season, last week at home in the 38-0 victory in the annual Homecoming game.
What the Terrors did against Richmond Hill, though, is something to boast about. The Wildcats were averaging 37 points a game and had scored at least 24 points in every game this season including a season-best 52 against Northside on Oct. 2 at home.
Glynn did not allow the Wildcats a touchdown, however. Richmond Hill’s first score was a safety that was the result of a blocked punt that went out of the end zone for a 2-0 lead in the first quarter.
The Wildcats’ only other score was a 31-yard field goal by senior Britton Williams after Richmond Hill got the ball in Glynn territory following a short punt by the Terrors in the closing moments of the opening half.
The Terrors scored the game’s only touchdown when senior quarterback TJ Lewis kept the ball around left end after Glynn gained possession at the Richmond Hill 38-yard line with 6:55 left in the second quarter following a punt by the Wildcats.
Lewis followed his lead blocker – senior tight end Ryan Seay – around the corner and along the Glynn sideline before hurdling a Richmond Hill defender and racing into the end zone for the score. Jonathan Sasser added the extra-point and Glynn led 7-2 at that point.
“We knew we had them there, the way we were lined up. We knew we had a chance at a play there,” Hidalgo said.
After halftime, Glynn’s defense continued to pitch a shutout, making stop after stop against the Wildcats. The Terrors forced a fumble at their own 30 which was recovered by Seay on Richmond Hill’s first drive of the third quarter.
Glynn also intercepted Richmond Hill quarterback Tyler Coleman in the red zone the next time the Wildcats had the ball.
In the fourth quarter, Glynn chewed up nearly four minutes of clock time before giving the ball to Richmond Hill with 3:32 to play at its own 32.
Both teams were flagged for pass interference on the possession, but with the Wildcats facing fourth-and-5 from the 37, Coleman completed a pass to a receiver around the Glynn 30. But immediately, just as the receiver was hauling in the ball, a penalty marker was thrown for offensive pass interference. The receiver was ruled to have pushed off the Glynn defender covering on the play before making the catch.
Following the mark-off for the infraction, Coleman’s last-gasp pass was intercepted by Glynn’s Tyler Devlin just inside the midfield stripe to seal the victory for the Terrors who sent their offense back onto the field one last time with Lewis taking a few knees to run out the clock.
Coleman finished 9-of-15 passing for 88 yards for the Wildcats. Their top running back, Ashaud Roberson, ran for 112 yards on 20 carries. He entered the game averaging 136 yards and has rushed for 100 yards in every game this season.
The Wildcats finished with just over 200 total yards.
“Our defensive front played a good football game,” Hidalgo said. “Other than three or four plays, we fit on the ball incredibly well. We didn’t want to give the quarterback easy throws. We got after him and tried to take him off his spot.”
Glynn managed 171 yards against Richmond Hill’s rugged defense which Hidalgo called one of the best in the state. Lewis had 111 yards rushing for the Terrors.
“We knew points would be tough to get,” Hidalgo said. “We weren’t gonna score 42, 37 points. We had some plays we didn’t use, but playing like we were on defense, we wanted to take care of the ball, burn the clock and keep playing defense. That’s how you win games.”