Frederica Academy Knights lose to Tiftarea Panthers
By: Jeff Doke
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
After a tough loss last week to Calvary Day, the Frederica Knights were hoping some home cooking would be just what the doctor ordered.
Unfortunately, all the Tiftarea Panthers were ready to serve up was a taste of our own medicine.
Head Coach Brandon Derrick let it be known in the preseason not to expect the high-flying, seat-of-your-pants high-tempo offense of years past.
This year’s Knights squad will, out of necessity, be a very deliberate clock control type offense, milking the most out of every offensive series. While this strategy worked effectively against Valwood in the season-opening victory, it was not in the cards for the next who weeks.
Tiftarea employed the same philosophy against the Knights Friday night to the tune of a 29-7 final score. The Panthers put together long, extended drives all night starting with the opening drive.
Following the opening kickoff, Tiftarea put together a 72-yard, 12-play drive that ate up more than seven minutes of the opening frame and culminated in a designed QB scramble for the score.
“We knew where it was going 85% of the time in the first half,” said Coach Derrick. “They mixed it up a little in the second half. You’ve got what you’ve got.”
The Knights unfortunately answered the opening drive with a three & out series with short runs from RB Jordan Triplett and acting QB Bryce Reilly.
The senior WR filling in for the injured Thomas Veal would spend more time showing off his wheels than his arm all night. Reilly went 2-3 for 66 yards through the air and 12 carries for 48 yards.
Sophomore RB Jordan Triplett didn’t fare any better on the night. The Tiftarea defense focused on #4 all game, limiting him to 34 yards on 11 carries. The night was by far the worst of his so-far stellar career.
The lone offensive highlight of the evening came on the Knights second drive of the 2nd half. After the Knights turned the ball over on downs on the opening drive, Reilly lobbed a screen pass to Triplett to the short side of the field, which “The River” then turned into a 61-yard touchdown.
Late in the 4th, the Knights threatened to score again, evoking memories of late-game heroics from Knights squads past.
Reilly scrambled five times and was aided by a horsecollar penalty on a 16-yard run, which set the Knights up for a 1st & goal inside the 5-yard line. Unfortunately, Lady Luck failed to smile, and a bobbled handoff led to the only Knights turnover on the night, sealing the final score at 29-7.
Defensively, the night belonged to LB Jacob Aiken. The Player of the Game recipient notched a minimum of seven solo tackles (four on the opening drive alone) and numerous group efforts. After the game, he was adamant to share the credit for the performance with his teammates.
“There’s only 20 of us. We all rely on each other, we all fire each other up,” said the Senior. “It was Just as much the linemen as it was me. I need them, I need Jon Phillip (Spiers). We all need each other.”
The Knights are back on the road next two weeks for a pair of GHSA matchups, traveling to Nahunta to take on Frederica coaching alum Jeff Cannon and his Brantley County Herons, then to Ludowici to take on Long County.