The Tattnall County High School (TCHS) Warriors were unfazed by a three-hour weather delay, as they totally dismantled the Claxton Tigers 48-6 in the Badlands on Friday, August 19, 2022. It was the season opener for both teams.
The Warriors won the toss and elected to receive. Tattnall Junior Running Back Jeremiah Mayner electrified the crowd with a dazzling 85-yard kick return for a touchdown to start the game. But the play was nullified by an illegal block in the back. The Warriors would then start possession from their own 30-yard line. An 8-yard run by David Hill set up Tattnall with second down and two. That’s when lighting was reported in the area, and both teams were sent to their locker rooms for over 2 1/2 hours before play resumed.
The two teams retook the field after 10 p.m. Tattnall County quickly picked up where they left off. On the second play from scrimmage, Miles Brown bobbled a high-snap, but manage to flip the ball to Jeremiah Mayner just in the nick of time. Mayner darted to the right, picked up a few blocks, and streaked down the right sideline for a 72-yard touchdown run. Sophomore kicker Angelio Bonilla nailed the PAT, and Tattnall County led 7-0.
After Tattnall County kicked off, Claxton took over from their 13-yard line. The Warriors’ defense quickly forced a punt after it was blocked by Josiah Anderson, and the Warriors had great field position at the Tigers’ 21-yard line. David Hill rumbled 19 yards on first down to set first and goal. David Miles scored on a 1-yard quarterback keeper on the next play. Bonilla again drilled the PAT through the uprights, and Tattnall County led 14-0 midway through the first period.
Claxton returned the kickoff to their 30-yard line. Again, Tattnall’s defense held, and Claxton punted after three running plays. Xavier Friendy returned the punt to the Claxton 39-yard line. Two plays later, Miles connected with Mayner on a screen pass to the Claxton ten-yard line. Xavier Friendy then scored on a ten-yard run, but the PAT was no good, and Tattnall County led 20-0. On the next kickoff, things went from bad to worse for Claxton.
The Tigers fumbled the kick, and Tattnall recovered the ball at the Claxton 38-yard line. An 18-yard run by Aaron Proctor, followed by a 10-yard penalty on Claxton, gave the Warriors first and ten from the Tiger 10-yard line.
The Warriors would add to their lead, as Aaron Proctor scored a 10-yard touchdown run. Bonilla added the PAT, and the Warriors led 27-0 at the end of the first quarter.
It was more of the same in the second period. Tattnall County turned back Claxton’s best offensive threat to start the quarter. Claxton drove to the Warrior 28-yard line, but the drive ended when Landen Sauls made a key tackle to stop the Claxton quarterback short of the down marker on fourth-and-seven. The Warriors took over downs. Tattnall County would then march 80 yards for another touchdown. The key play in the drive was a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty on Claxton that came after a third down stop. Aaron Proctor later scored his second touchdown of the night, this time a 1-yard run. Bonilla’s kick was true, and the Warriors led 34-0 with 3:32 minutes to play in the half.
After a short return on the ensuing kickoff, Claxton would turn the ball over again. The Warriors recovered the fumble at the Claxton 24-yard line. Three plays later, Trey Rodgers hit pay dirt on a 6-yard scamper; Bonilla split the uprights to give the Warriors a commanding 41-0 lead with 1:38 left to play before halftime. Tattnall kicked off this time; however, Claxton’s return man found a seam in the Warrior defense and raced untouched for a 75-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. The PAT was blocked by Josiah Anderson, and Tattnall led 41-6 at the half.
The Warriors would add a fourth quarter score when Aaron Proctor scored on a ten-yard run, his third touchdown of the night. Angelio Bonilla kicked the PAT, and Tattnall County would go on to win the game 48-6.
The Warriors had an outstanding rushing game overall against Claxton. Tattnall County totaled over 300 yards on the ground. Tattnall was led by Aaron Proctor, who had 15 carries for 125 yards and three touchdowns. Jeremiah Mayner added 95 yards rushing on five attempts and a score. Xavier Friendy tallied 47 yards on four touches and a touchdown. Trey Rodgers rushed nine times for 34 yards. David Hill had three carries for 31 yards in limited action.
Tattnall County moves to 1-0 on the season. The Warriors will travel to Ludowici this Friday, August 26, to face rival Long County. Last season, Long County defeated Tattnall County 28-22 in the Badlands. The loss knocked Tattnall out of play-off contention. The Warriors will try to make amends this Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Veterans Field in Ludowici.