High School Sports

Veterans uses stout defense to give Houston County its first loss of the season

The Houston County Bears came into Friday night’s riding a four-game win streak but the Veterans Warhawks defense was determined to shut down the high octane offense.

And they did — by a score of 7-2.

For much of the game, the two defenses held each team in check with the only score in the first half of play coming on a safety after a snap went out of the back of the end zone by Veterans.

“We were thinking for awhile if we hit a three-run home run we might win that thing,” Veterans head coach Milan Turner said.

Down 2-0, Blake Ethridge fired a touchdown pass instead of the home run to take the lead in the third quarter.

Tight end Jalon Shine hauled in the lone touchdown of the game by either team. Turner says it was a play they had set up all night.

“We had run the formation a couple times… and saw it was there,” Turner said. “We felt that was the opportune time.”

The Warhawks defense would then step up on multiple occasions to hold the Bears.

“What a performance by our defense. (Houston County) are averaging 30-something points per game,” Turner said. “I am just so proud of our kids.”

The game was defined by the Warhawks ability to cause turnovers. The defense forced multiple fumbles by the Bears offense including a pair on Veterans’ side of the 50.

“They were huge. We made some plays and did some things to help create that,” Turner said. “I think it goes back to the way we played the game. Our defense played fast, they played hard.”

The Warhawks had never beaten the Bears before a 35-33 win last year. Turner said the goal was to come in and win two in a row over their rivals.

“It’s a crosstown rivalry,” Turner said. “They are an extremely good football team. They are going to win a ton of games this year.”

Veterans came into the game 3-1 after dropping a game to Statesboro last week by a score of 29-19.

The win over Houston County was a much needed bounce back before taking on Perry. Turner said that the focus will now shift to the Panthers.

“We will put this one to rest after this weekend… everything will be geared towards Perry,” Turner said. “They are going to come in here and they want nothing more than to knock us off.”

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Justin Baxley is the fan life reporter at The Telegraph and writes stories centered around entertainment, food and sports in the Macon community. Justin joined the Telegraph staff after graduating from Mercer University in May 2017 with a degree in criminal justice and journalism. During his time at Mercer he served as the sports editor for The Cluster.