Originally created 09/02/01

Walker, Tanner set pace for Statesboro



STATESBORO, Ga. - Nothing much has changed for Statesboro's football team from a year ago when it reached the state Class AAAA championship game.

Jimtavis Walker and Delandry Tanner still combine in the backfield to produce most of the offense.

Almost everything has changed for Swainsboro. With 2,600-yard rusher Brandon Andrews now on Georgia Southern's roster, the Tigers bear little resemblence to last year's state Class AAA champions.

Both things were evident in Statesboro's 19-6 victory over Swainsboro on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.

The game had been highly anticipated with both teams ranked No. 1 in their respective classes. But the Blue Devils showed they were the ones deserving of such lofty status as they dominated much of the contest to capture the Mayor's Trophy that goes to the winner.

Jimtavis Walker rushed for 223 yards on 27 carries and scored three touchdowns as Statesboro avenged last year's 14-7 loss to Swainsboro.

"It feels real good," Walker said. "They beat us in the last 30 seconds of the game last year. We just came out this game and basically focused on what we had to do. We're trying to go 15-0 and win the state championship."

Walker did most of his damage in the first half. The 5-foot-10, 196-pounder rushed for 153 yards on 16 carries and scored all three of his touchdowns on runs of 2, 35 and 3 yards.

Statesboro rushed for 305 yards on 52 carries - 198 on 32 carries in the first half - and 336 yards in total offense.

Swainsboro, meanwhile, showed how much it missed Andrews. The Tigers were held to only 67 yards on 24 attempts - 19 yards on six attempts in the first two quarters - and 176 yards in total offense.

The visitors had a chance to get back into the game in the third quarter, but the Blue Devils stopped the Tigers twice on fourth down with the ball on the 21 and 7. The latter came after Swainsboro gained a first down on a fake punt with up-back Anthony Cobb getting the snap and rambling 17 yards on fourth-and-11 at the Statesboro 45.

"I think our offense became a little complacent, and they came out and played hard in the second half," Statesboro coach Buzz Busby said. "We had to make some adjustment on our blocking schemes and after that we were OK."



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