Tift Falls to Lee 42-14

As it turns out, a rainy night in Leesburg was not a good place for Tift County to play both its first road game and its first region game. The Blue Devils offense was simply overwhelmed as the Lee County Trojans pounded Tift 42-14.

Tift vs Lee County: 1-AAAAAA Football All Photos Shine Rankin Jr.

Tift’s Cody Thompson sacks Lee QB Garret Morrell in the backfield. Tift Defenders were relentless, and kept the Devils in the game early.
Photo: Shine Rankin Jr./SGSN

For its part, the Devils defense was spectacular in the first half keeping Tift in a game that could have gotten completely out of hand early. The Devils offense ommitted an unbelievable five turnovers in the first half – three fumbles and two interceptions. Even with all of those turnovers, Tift only trailed 14-7 at the half because the defense refused to give in. Four times in the first half, the Devils defense held on fourth down forcing the highly touted Lee offense to give up the ball on downs.

The Devils would not be so fortunate in the second half. Quarterback and Marshall University commit Garret Morrell single handedly broke the game open early in the third quarter. On a second and 11 from his own six yard line, Morrell threw a strike to senior wide out Tray Eafford for a 94-yard touchdown making the score 21-7. Eafford used his speed to run right by the Tift secondary catching the ball at midfield and racing in for the score untouched. Moments later, Morrell kept the ball on a zone read play and bolted through left tackle for a 90-yard rushing touchdown.

Morrell and Eafford hooked up for three touchdowns on the night. The last one was a 23-yarder midway through the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach 35-7. Morrell finished with 204 yards and three touchdowns on 9 for 14 passing. He added 108 yards rushing and a score on just 7 carries. Eafford finished with 128 yards and three touchdowns on three catches.

Trailing 14-0 early in the second quarter, Tift used two Lee personal fouls to drive 50 yards in 10 plays for its first score. Rodrick Gaines’ hard running breathed life into the staggering Tift offense. He carried the ball four times for 20 yards on the drive which ended with Brant Watson making a circus catch in the end zone for a 19-yard score. Pushed into playing receiver because of injuries at the position, Watson stayed with a tipped ball showing great concentration to reel in a batted ball for the score.

Tift’s other score came in the fourth quarter. Barry Bennett took a handoff and barely got around the corner on the right side. Once he got on the sideline, the senior running back outraced several Trojans for a 45-yard TD. Bennett finished with 70 yards on 15 carries.

Tift will now travel to Valdosta to take on the Wildcats. Both teams are 0-1 as Valdosta lost at home to Camden County. Lee will host Colquitt County which is also 1-0 after a convincing win over Lowndes.

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