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There’s more than one way to win a game

There’s more than one way to win a game

There’s more than one way to win a game

Statesboro High linebacker Branden Wi...

    It’s not every day you see two teams so evenly matched, yet so incredibly equally different.
    When the Statesboro Blue Devils faced Chattahoochee in the semifinals of the GHSA Class AAAA semifinals, both teams had on full display the different ways they got there, and both teams also proved, without a shadow of a doubt, that they both deserved to be there.
    On the one end of the spectrum were the Blue Devils. All season long, they’ve won ugly, they’ve won tough and they’ve won in the trenches.
    They’ve looked across the line of scrimmage at the other team, and said, “You know what’s coming, try to stop it.”
    Of course, that’s no big secret. Statesboro has won a lot of hardware over the years the exact same way.
    The Cougars, on the other hand, know how to put on a show.
    All season long, quarterback Timmy Byerly has carved up the opposing defense. Chattahoochee has won with finesse and style, and has scored a boatload of points doing it.
    It was no different Friday night, as Byrely threw for 201 yards.
    The difference in the outcome was in that Statesboro made CHS kick field goals, and the Cougars made SHS punt.
    Games like that always make people sit back and think about what they just saw, even second-guess things.
    When you see a team throw the football all over the field and experience a lot of success, it’s human nature to think, “Why don’t we do that?”
    With the way spread passing offenses have swept through college football, it’s no wonder that they have made a big splash in the prep ranks, too.
    The problem is, if you don’t have the best passer and the best receiver in your region, and a respectable running game to compliment them, you’re going to be a middle-of-the-pack team.
    If you take Statesboro’s approach and you simply work hard at getting tougher than the other team so you can push them around in the trenches, it will always put you in the mix, even when the star quarterback graduates and you have to “rebuild.”
    As a matter of the fact, all the experts told me this was going to be a rebuilding year for the Blue Devils.
    Not bad.
    It should be noted that Statesboro’s straight-forward, smash-mouth, Wishbone approach to the game put up more points against Chattahoochee’s defense than anybody else this season, with the exception of Marist.
    It should also be noted that Statesboro, even after punting away the potential game-saving drive, looked to have its bags packed for the Georgia Dome when the last-second field goal did everything it could to miss wide left.
`    I guess it could be said that it’s just a little bit ironic when a team with so much grace and finesse needs arguably the ugliest field goal in the history of Womack Field to take down Statesboro in the playoffs.
    Before coming to Statesboro, Chattahoochee’s lowest scoring output was 31 points.
    They needed only 22 to pull off a trip to the title game, and by the looks of things have one of the best offenses in the state.
    They might even win themselves a championship this season.
    The only sure thing, however, that came from that game, is that one day in the near future, Byerly will graduate and Chattahoochee will have to rebuild.
    Statesboro will continue blocking harder and playing tougher, and if the track record is any indication, will always be in the mix and have a shot at beating anybody by running the football.
    Even when the other team knows what’s coming.

    Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

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