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Statesboro seeks revenge against Brunswick

Statesboro seeks revenge against Brunswick

Statesboro seeks revenge against Brunswick

    Playing a schedule that is packed full of road trips and talented opponents, Statesboro will get a taste of both tonight as it hits the road to take on reigning Region 2-AAAA champion Brunswick in the Blue Devils’ 2010 regular season opener.
    Familiar rivals as region neighbors for the past three seasons, Statesboro and Brunswick are used to playing under more urgent — as well as cooler — circumstances.
    In each of the last two years, the Devils and Pirates have hooked up in the regular season finale with the region title on the line. In both instances, Brunswick came away with a victory, notching a last-second win in 2008 and holding off a late Statesboro charge last November.
    Even with the memories still fresh and bitter in the Devils minds, the new season brings a focus to succeed on the new goal at hand.
    “We don’t really look back to what happened,” said Statesboro coach Steve Pennington. “We think that the focal point should be on starting anew. You don’t rest on your laurels if you’ve been winning, so we’re not going to go out there focusing on revenge just because we lost a couple.”
    To finally overcome Brunswick, the Statesboro defense will have to be in top form.
    The Devils are breaking in new starters throughout the defensive ranks and will have to find the right combination of talent and chemistry to control a Pirate attack that spreads athletes all over the field.
    “Brunswick’s scheme is complex enough as it is,” said Pennington. “When you add in all of the speed that they possess, it magnifies the challenge in stopping them. We need to change gears defensively to be prepared for their wide-open approach to their offense.”
    Offensively, it will be harder for Statesboro to know what to expect from its opponent.
    Brunswick is breaking in a new defensive coordinator this season, so Statesboro has spent this week preparing its offense for any number of possibilities. Regardless of what the Pirates throw at them, the Devils will stick to the bread and butter of their power running game with Trai Gadson, Aaron Lester and Dequan Daniels carrying the ball in their wishbone attack.
    “We’ve had to prepare for a number of defenses,” said Pennington. “We might see a 4-3 scheme, but that might not be the case. We’ve introduced different schemes to our offense throughout the week so that they can be prepared for whatever they see out there.”
    Each team may have a reason to believe it has an edge in tonight’s game, depending on the point of view.
    While Statesboro is kicking off its season and may have to contend with the first-game jitters, Brunswick has already had its first game of the year. Last week, the Pirates defeated AAAAA opponent Coffee County by a 20-7 margin to begin the season at 1-0.
    Conversely, the Pirates’ early start offered Statesboro coaches a chance to scout out their competition and perhaps improve their game plan for tonight.
    “This is out first game, and our guys might have some nerves,” said Pennington. “We are familiar with Brunswick, so that will at least be better than going in cold turkey.
    “Brunswick has already had the chance to play, so they should be over that already. Of course, that gives us a chance to better prepare for them, but we still need to stay focused. We could be 100 percent certain of what they’re going to do, but we still have to execute.”
    Although both teams are still in Region 2-AAAA, tonight’s game will not count towards the region standings as Statesboro and Brunswick are in different sub-regions.
    The Blue Devils begin sub-region play September 24 at Lakeside, Evans.

    Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.

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