It was a tough day for the offensive all-stars from the South Carolina Lowcountry, but the inaugural Blitz Border Bowl was a rousing success nonetheless.
The Lowcountry all-stars turned in a strong defensive effort but couldn’t get anything going on offense, losing 15-3 to their Georgia Coastal Empire counterparts Saturday at Pooler Stadium.
Effingham County running back Toot Johnson scored the only touchdown of the game and earned MVP honors, and Richmond Hill kicker Joseph Petrino booted three field goals to lead the Coastal Empire.
Petrino, who has signed with Maryland, opened the scoring with a 40-yard field goal midway through the first quarter and added a 27-yard kick later in the quarter for a 6-0 lead.
Hilton Head Christian’s Evan Berkner got the Lowcountry on the board with a 42-yard field goal that bounced off the crossbar and through, making it 6-3 at halftime.
Johnson scored the only touchdown of the game on a 4-yard run three plays after breaking off a 36-yard gain on the opening drive of the second half.
Petrino added a 43-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to cap the scoring.
The Lowcountry offense was held to negative rushing yards and had difficulty moving the ball all day, but the defense provided plenty of bright spots. Bluffton’s Tristen James intercepted two passes, Beaufort High’s Reggie Jones Jr. had a pick to set up Berkner’s field goal, and Battery Creek’s Ahman Smalls forced a turnover on a sack and strip.
More importantly, a number of the area’s top senior players got the chance to take the field one last time and perhaps gain the necessary exposure to find an opportunity to play at the next level.
“I think the biggest thing was these kids had fun and they got to come out here and show their ability,” said Bluffton coach John Houpt, who coached the Lowcountry team.
The inaugural game was organized by WSAV and the Savannah Morning News with proceeds benefiting the Ronald McDonald House.