MARTINEZ, Ga. - Dequan Daniels didn’t wait ‘til the second half this time around.
The Statesboro tailback rushed for three first-half touchdowns and finished with 110 yards on the ground in a 26-7 win over Lakeside tonight.
Daniels scored four times in the second half a year ago to erase a two-touchdown deficit at Statesboro for a seven-point win. No comeback was necessary this year. The season opener for both teams saw the Blue Devils score on the game’s opening possession, put together two more scoring drives in the second quarter and never look back.
Statesboro used six ball carriers, but Daniels took over much of the load near the goal line. His touchdown runs of 3, 24 and 18 yards highlighted a ground game that tallied 213 yards against the Lakeside defense.
The Panthers tied the game at 7 late in the first quarter after quarterback Hunter Banks converted a 32-yard pass to Forrest Nanney on third-and-19. Michael Wilson scored from five yards out on the next play for Lakeside’s only touchdown.
The only time the Blue Devils struggled was when they hurt themselves with penalty flags. They were whistled for several false starts, including three on one-first half drive that, combined with a recovered fumble in the backfield, pushed them back 27 yards. The resulting field position set up Lakeside for its lone score.