POOLER — Beach High School used big plays and a stifling defense to hand Bryan County a 27-0 loss in the season opener for both teams Thursday night at Pooler Stadium.
“We knew this was going to be tough, given how much experience we lost from last year,” Redskins Coach Mario Mincey said. “And they are a year older, a year stronger and a year faster.”
By “they” Mincey meant the Bulldogs, who Bryan County beat in the season opener last year 33-14 in the WSAV Thursday Night Blitz.
Beach Coach Ulysses Hawthorne said this year’s game was not about revenge, necessarily, but certainly about pride. The Bulldogs have nine starters on defense back, and they used their experience to stop Bryan County’s momentum several times.
“Their linebackers are especially tough,” Mincey said. “They stopped our running game several times.”
Beach got on the board first as the horn sounded to end the first quarter on a 6-yard pass. The Bulldogs scored again with 2:44 left in the second quarter to take a 14-0 lead into half time.
The Redskins recovered a fumble at the 50-yard line on Beach’s first snap of the third quarter, but a Bulldog interception four plays later eventually led to a Beach touchdown with six minutes to go and a 21-0 lead.
Beach then returned a Bryan County fumble on the Redskins’ next possession, making it 27-0 with just over three minutes to play in the third.
Bryan County threatened to score in the fourth quarter when Terron Dixon reached the end zone from eight yards out, but the touchdown was called back on a holding penalty. A Beach interception in the end zone three plays later ended Bryan County’s hopes of a comeback.
“The effort was there,” Mincey said. “They made plays and we didn’t and that was the difference.”
Mincey said his young team is still learning new offensive and defensive systems and did not have the benefit of spring practice.
“We’re young and we had some guys playing new positions because of injuries, but I told the players they just have to have trust and to keep working,” Mincey said. “We’ll look at the film and get to work correcting the mistakes we made.”
Bryan County plays at Windsor Forest next Friday.