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Playoff picture clearing up in Bulloch County

Playoff picture clearing up in Bulloch County

Playoff picture clearing up in Bulloch County

    Last Friday was a huge turning point for Bulloch County football teams. With three weeks remaining in the regular season, it seems as though there will be no shortage of drama and excitement for many area schools.
    For some schools, the end of October means that it’s time to gear up for yet another playoff run. For others, the mere possibility of a postseason appearance is a welcome change of pace compared to recent seasons.
    But some damaging losses also dotted last week’s schedule. As far as a few area teams are concerned — and to quote the great Yogi Bera — “It’s getting late early out there.”
in control
    After rattling off seven consecutive wins to start the season, the Blue Devils of Statesboro High got to sit back and relax during their bye week.
    While players rested up, the coaching staff watched Wayne County and South Effingham – the two sub-region teams still on Statesboro’s schedule – face off down in Guyton.
    “We know what we have to do to achieve our goals,” SHS coach Steve Pennington said. “There are a lot of good teams in our sub-region. All we can control is going out there and playing well each week.”
    The Devils can’t clinch a state playoff berth during this week’s game at South Effingham, but another win would ensure that they reach at least the Region 3-AAAA play-in round. A victory would also keep the path clear for a run at the region championship.
SEB on the brink of playoffs
    The Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets host struggling Beach at Fred Shaver Field this Friday. With four solid quarters of play, SEB could find itself in the middle of Brooklet’s biggest party in a decade
    With last week’s win over Brantley County, the Jackets moved to 3-1 in Region 1-AAA play. SEB is currently in third place – the top four teams will advance to the state playoffs – and are two losses clear of fourth.
    In the Jackets’ latest win, Tyler Epps continued his stellar senior season. Epps was working double duty with fellow running back Antonio McMillan nursing a bad ankle, but he answered the call in style. Epps rushed for 240 yards and scored five touchdowns to treat the big homecoming crowd.
    SEB can’t afford to look past winless Beach – which defeated the Jackets last season – but the postseason is looking more like a reality with each passing day.

Portal stays alive
    The Portal Panthers’ 2-4-1 record isn’t very imposing, but with the unpredictable GHSA power poll responsible for filling out the Class A playoff bracket, anything can happen.
    Portal had fallen victim to a tough schedule in the first half of the season. A date with Savannah Christian seemed daunting at the beginning of the season, but the Raiders were reeling heading into the matchup and Portal took full advantage.
    The Panthers scored twice off of turnovers in the first quarter, then forced two more turnovers in the second half to hang on for a 10-7 win.
    “This was so big for us,” Portal assistant coach Josh Thompson said. “These guys have lost some tough ones, but they haven’t let up. Hopefully this will be more motivation for us moving forward.”

BA, Claxton, Screven in trouble
    The weekend was far less enjoyable for a trio of area teams.
    With a 29-20 homecoming loss against Tiftarea, Bulloch Academy sand to 0-2 in region play. The Gators are, mathematically speaking, still very much in the postseason hunt. But 6-1 Westfield is next up for Bulloch and another loss will be hard to bounce back from.
    Claxton seemed destined for the Class A playoffs after upsetting Savannah Christian two weeks ago, but were stunned by Savannah Country Day last week.
    Calvary Day awaits the Tigers this week and is looking to continue the trend started in last year’s 49-12 rout of Claxton.
    If the Tigers can run the table, they’ll be in the postseason. If not, they’ll need some outside help to make the field.
    Screven County entered 2013 with a target on its back after sweeping through Region 3-AA. This time around, things have been much tougher. The Gamecocks wouldn’t make the postseason if things ended today.
    Screven is capable of taking down East Laurens and the Josey Wildcats in the coming weeks, but might have to upset region frontrunner Dublin on the last night of the regular season to make a return trip to the playoffs.

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

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