By Kevin Price
For GCS Athletics
The Glynn Academy Red Terrors saw their 2020 season come to a disappointing finish Friday night as they fell big in the second round of the Class AAAAAA state playoffs, losing 35-0 to seventh-ranked Langston-Hughes at Glynn County Stadium.
The loss ended a six-game winning streak for Glynn (8-4) which did not advance beyond the second round of the state playoffs for the third straight season after making two quarterfinal appearances and a semifinal appearance while also playing for a state championship in head coach Rocky Hidalgo’s first four seasons with the program.
This season, Glynn tied for first in Region 2 with Richmond Hill and Brunswick to claim its fifth region title in the last seven seasons while also clinching the top seed for the playoffs in the process. The Terrors did as much despite having to rebuild their offensive line which was riddled by early-season injuries while also reconstructing their secondary which also was depleted by injuries early on.
Hidalgo was not in the best of moods Friday night after the game, but he did acknowledge the effort put forth by numerous Glynn players to help the Terrors accomplish what they did while also working through the Covid-19 trials and tribulations this season.
“There is a core group of kids on this team that worked their tails off, really improved and came a long ways this year,” the veteran coach said. “I’m really proud of those kids and what they did.”
Friday night was frustrating, though, for the head coach and everyone on the Glynn sideline.
The Terrors hadn’t given up a touchdown in five games, but they gave up one to the Panthers just 1 minutes and 35 seconds into the game and they gave up a second one before the end of the quarter as they fell behind 14-0 in the opening 12 minutes.
Of course, Hughes would score more touchdowns for five total in the game which was played with a running clock in the fourth quarter under the 30-point mercy rule after three periods.
Glynn had not been shut out since losing 22-0 at home to Coffee in the fourth game of the 2015 season.
The loss was the Terrors’ most lopsided in the postseason since their 49-6 defeat at Westside-Macon in the first round of the 2008 state playoffs.
“They’ve got a really good football team. We had to play well to beat them,” Hidalgo said of the Panthers. “But, we stunk the joint up, didn’t play well. We didn’t finish drives, didn’t tackle well. We made too many mistakes. We made too many errors.”
Hughes, whose only loss was to third-ranked Westlake which pounded Richmond Hill on Friday, went 74 yards in four plays on the game’s opening drive, scoring on an 8-yard run by sophomore Jamarion Harris. Their second play from scrimmage was a double-pass for 36 yards to the Glynn 23-yard line.
The Terrors moved from their own 24 to the Hughes 24 on their first possession, but gave up the ball on downs when they could not covert on fourth-and-6.
Hughes would get out of a third-and-20 situation on its next drive following a defensive holding call on Glynn and a 14-yard scramble by freshman quarterback Air Nolad to the 17 for a fresh set of downs.
The Panthers would move inside the Glynn 10 but would have a touchdown nullified by a holding call, and then following another holding call, they were quickly back on the 37. On the next play, though, a quick pass along the line of scrimmage from Noland to Jayden Browning would lead to a 37-yard score when Browning avoided a tackle and ran free down the far sideline for another Hughes’ score.
The Panthers threatened to go up three scores moments into the second stanza after converting on fourth-and-3 from the Glynn 42 when Harris appeared stopped behind the line but escaped for a 14-yard pick-up to the 28 to move the chains. But Glynn’s Tyler Devlin would intercept a Noland pass just outside the end zone to thwart this scoring attempt by the visitors.
Glynn came off the goal line and would actually take the ball to the Hughes 19 with big gains by TJ Lewis and Caden Hutchinson before a fumble by Lewis at the 19 with 3:30 left before halftime ended a scoring chance for the Terrors.
The Terrors would get the ball once more before intermission and would move from their 37 to the Hughes 25, where they got off one last pass which they completed to the 12 as time ran out in the opening half. Prior to that, they missed an open receiver just short of the goal line.
The contest quickly got away from Glynn after the break.
A lateral on the Terrors’ opening possession was errant and Hughes’ Terrance Love alertly scooped up the loose ball inside the GA 30 while on the run and paraded into the end zone to make it 21-0 in a flash.
The Terrors had to punt on their next possession, and with Hughes going on offense from its own 12, a short pass from Noland to big Jakari Mitchell, who the Panthers list as an Athlete on their roster, turned into an 88-yard touchdown as Mitchell rumbled down the visiting sideline for the long score.
A Glynn turnover at its own 35 on its next possession led to a 1-yard touchdown by Love who dove over the top of his offensive line for the final tally of the night with still 4:28 to play in the third.
Hughes will be making its first-ever appearance in the quarterfinals next week. The Panthers will play at Buford with a berth in the state semfinals on the line. The Wolves, who moved up a classification this year after winning Class AAAAA last fall, defeated Cambridge 28-0 on Friday.