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Gators take underdog role against PCA

    Bulloch Academy head coach Clint Morgan has been looking to Boone, N. C. for inspiration as his Gators prepare to take on powerful Class AAA rival Pinewood Christian Academy.
    “If Appalachian State can beat Michigan, Bulloch Academy can beat Pinewood,” said Morgan, referring to the Mountaineers stunning 34-32 upset of the then fifth-ranked Wolverines at the ‘Big House’ in Ann Arbor, Mich., last Saturday. “Our guys think they can win this football game. Thoughts are things. If you think hard enough, it will turn into something.
    “Nobody in the GISA (Georgia Independent School Association) is giving us a chance against Pinewood,” added Morgan. “But it doesn’t matter what everybody else thinks. We’re the ones who have to believe.”
    Still, the disparity between the Gators and the Patriots tonight may well stack up to be similar to Appalachian State versus Michigan.
    The Patriots (1-0) have a 44-man roster and boast 12 players at or above 200 pounds. Bulloch (1-0) has a 28-man roster and has just five who are at or above 200 pounds.
    “With that many players, they still have eight who go both ways,” said Morgan. “The biggest difference is that all of their big offensive linemen are seniors. They are big and they have experience.”
    Behind that solid and strong offensive line, the Patriots will run from the triple option.
    “They are a mirror image of Bulloch Academy,” said Morgan. “Trent Sikes (PCA’s quarterback) and Jordan Walker (BA’s quarterback) are very similar in size, speed and ability. Sikes is a tremendous athlete but I wouldn’t trade my quarterback for anybody.”
    Lining up behind Sikes will be a strong trio of runners.
    “Dalton Crews is their fullback,” said Morgan. “He is very big and very strong. Lane Miller and Brandon Oliver are the wingbacks. They are two more big and strong runners.”
    Bulloch’s 50 series defense, according to Morgan, will have to be very aggressive and rely on gang tackling.
    “We want to get all 11 players to the football,” he said.
    In last week’s 40-0 win over David Emanuel Academy, senior defensive end Drew Cheshire had a game-high 12 tackles while senior defensive tackle Ben Newton had 10. Junior linebacker Michael Deloach had eight, senior nose guard Corey Owens had six and linebacker senior Ethan Lovett had five. These Gator defensive leaders will have to step up to the challenge of a much bigger and stronger Pinewood offensive line and running backs.
    Offensively, the Gators will have to find a chink in the Patriot defensive armor.
    “On their defensive line will be the same guys who were up front on offense,” said Morgan. “Their linebackers are fast and physical.”
    BA’s Walker, who rushed for 190 yards and three touchdowns against the Eagles last week, will have to use all of his skill at the signal-calling position to have success against the tough PCA defenders.
    “We’re going to have to mix it up a little more than last week,” said Morgan. “They are just too big for us to think that we can just run the football down their throats.”
    According to Morgan, practices have been lively and upbeat at the Gator camp.
    “You learn more about a football team from Week One to Week Two than you do in any other week of the season,” said Morgan. “We’re hoping to improve on a lot of mistakes we had last week but also try to continue doing the good things we did.”

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