SYLVESTER — Worth County-head coach Jason Tone and his Rams didn’t expect the road to be easy. With only seven total returning starters, there was no question that the Rams would take their fair share of lumps this season, their first under the new regime.
With Class AAAAAA Tift County in town Friday night, they took their lumps and then some before they finish the season with seven straight region games.
After some rain put the game’s kickoff in question, the Blue Devils proceeded to pour it on afterwards, steamrolling the outmatched Rams to the tune of 49-14.
“We’re still learning,” Tone said. “Both the offense and the defense, but our guys never quit, never hung their head. We’re going to be better because of this game.”
The Blue Devils jumped all over the home team early and often, rattling off 28 unanswered points in the first half thanks to a huge effort by quarterback Ryan Wedgeworth. The senior accounted for 371 yards — 154 of those on the ground — in just the first half. Sixty-three of those rushing yards came on a quarterback keeper, where Wedgeworth got good interior blocking and sped through the gap, leaving Ram defenders in the dust to put the Blue Devils up 21-0 with 24 seconds left in the first quarter.
Worth County made things competitive before the break, thanks to opportunistic play by their defense and tailback Quantavious Sweney. After Sweney capped a nine-play, 65 yard drive with a six-yard touchdown run, the Rams recovered a fumble at their own 26 yard line with just over a minute left in the second quarter. Sweney plunged in from two yards out as time expired to cut the lead to 35-14 at the half.
Unfortunately for the home team, that was the closest they’d get for the rest of the night. They were downright outclassed on both sides of the ball by the Blue Devils, who racked up 414 yards in the first half, and only slightly took their feet off the gas after intermission.
It’d be tough sledding for any offense to overcome a 21-point lead, but since the Rams primarily run the rush-heavy Wing-T, it was all but impossible to slow down the game enough to make headway. The Rams only attempted six passes the entire game. “It’s hard to get back from a lead like that in a hurry,” said Tone, “but we called some play-action passes and guys got open. We just didn’t have time to get them the ball; we have to execute better as a whole, offensively.”
Quantavious Sweney’s two touchdowns led the way for the Rams, as he finished with 58 yards on 14 carries. Brandon Gibson added 73 yards on nine carries.
“It showed us that we can’t give up,” Sweney said. “We just have to keep battling to the end.”
“Sweney’s a horse for us. We had to use him on the defensive line some today, so that may have worn him down a little bit, but he’s going to do good for us in our region schedule.”
“It took a lot out of me,” Sweney said of playing both sides of the ball, “but either way I had to keep fighting. We have to step it up and get physical.”
The Rams fell to 1-2 on the season with the loss; they’ll travel to face Dougherty for their first region matchup of the season next weekend. The remaining teams on the Rams’ schedule are all in-region, and four of these games will take place on the road. In order for the Rams to compete with region foes like Crisp County and Albany High, coach Tone says the answer is simply: “Block and tackle.”
The Blue Devils were led by Malik Henry and Ladarius Stewart on offense. Stewart scored the first points of the game on an eight-yard pass from Wedgeworth. Henry scored on 48 and 39 yard passes from Wedgeworth.