Long Cane defense shines in win
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Another game, another shutout for the Long Cane Middle School Cougars.
In a county showdown against Gardner Newman on Thursday, Long Cane’s eighth-grade team notched its fifth shutout of the season in a 28-0 victory.
Long Cane (7-0) will play Auburn for the league championship on Oct. 24, and that game will be played at Callaway Stadium.
It was a packed house at Gardner Newman’s field as the two unbeaten teams met for the county championship, as well as a spot in the league title game.
As has been the case all season, Long Cane’s defense was overpowering.
Long Cane’s defense not only didn’t yield a point, but it also scored a touchdown.
“To allow zero points in five straight games, it’s incredibly impressive,” said Larry Murdock, Long Cane’s first-year head coach.
While Murdock has a hand in the defense as the linebackers coach, the defensive coordinator is Maurice Swain, a former standout player at Troup High.
“Having one of the best defensive coordinators, that doesn’t hurt,” Murdock said.
Murdock added that “it’s phenomenal to them to say we didn’t allow a team to score any points. Yeah, they may have got a first down, but they didn’t score a point.”
It was a scoreless game in the first quarter when Charles Davis returned a fumble 45 yards for the touchdown.
“That was definitely the changing point in the game,” Murdock said.
Offensively, Jeff Davis threw touchdown passes to Keshun Earl and Amoni Moody, and Javari Fannin and T.J. Mitchell both had two-point conversion catches.
Mitchell also had a touchdown run to cap the scoring in the second half.
Defensive standouts included Taeo Todd and Z’Tavious Poole, who each had interceptions.
Qua Birdsong recovered two fumbles for Long Cane, and Charles Davis and Lucas Martin also had fumble recoveries.
While Gardner Newman came up short, head coach Marcus Blandinburg is thrilled with what the team has done this season.
“We already won, with what they accomplished this year,” Blandinburg said. “They put in the work and they sacrificed. We’ve been working since February. That’s how long it takes to develop when you don’t have athletes like other schools have. You have to put in the time, and they have. I’m so proud of them, win or lose.”