The Elbert County Blue Devils came away with a victory in the Granite Bowl Friday night over the Jackson County Panthers. This win secures the region title for the Blue Devils.
The Blue Devil defense would pick up where they left off in the Hart County game with some nice defense forcing the Panthers to a punt on the opening drive. After the punt the Blue Devils would only need two plays before Marquice Dye would break a run for touchdown to take the Devils up 7-0 early. The Panthers would not be deterred and would put a drive together of their own to tie the game at 7. After the score the Panthers would make things interesting with an onside kick to surprise the Devils which they would recover. Jackson County would fake a punt to convert a 4th down and cap the drive off with a touchdown to go up 14-7. After the Kickoff Elbert would start on their own 26 yard line. A long run from QB Mecole Hardman would get the Devils down to the Panthers 8 yard line and Boochie Reed would punch the ball in with 1:40 left in the quarter and tie the game at 14.
The second quarter would continue to be a whirlwind of offense. However, Blue Devils would force the Panthers to punt; after some devastating penalties the Blue Devils would face a 1st and 30 on their own 20 but Hardmen would call his own number running 80 yards to take the Devils up 21-14. Still the Panthers would not go away as they would put a drive together and score from 9 yards out but a missed PAT would keep the Devils up 21-20. Again Elbert would have an answer as Zac Allen would punch the ball in from three yards out and the teams would go into the half with a score of 28-20.
Jackson County would again try an onside kick to start off the second half. However this time the Devils were ready for it as they recovered with good field position; again Hardman would call his own number scoring from 21 yards out to give the Devils the lead 34-20. The Panthers would be able to answer though after putting a drive together and scoring from the 2 yard line. This would be the last points the Panthers would be able to muster in the game but the Devils were not done. With 2:17 left in the 3rd Marquice Dye would again find the endzone this time on a 20 yard run to make the score 41-27.
Before entering the 4th quarter the Devils would take over on the Jackson County 13 yard line after a horrible punt gave the Devils excellent field position. This would set up Hardman to convert a 4th and 1 for a touchdown early in the 4th. At this point the Panthers would break down and the Blue Devil defense would close the door on the Panthers. The Devil offense would grind out the rest of the game on the ground allowing the Devils to clinch the 8AAA region title with a score of 48-27.