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Gators hit the road, travel to RTCA

     For the third straight week, the Bulloch Academy Gators will be physical underdogs.
    “They are big up front,” BA head football coach Clint Morgan said of the Robert Toombs Christian Academy Crusaders. “As far as size, it won’t be any different from the past two weeks.”
    The Crusaders (1-1) have eight players on their 25-man roster who weigh in at 200 or more pounds. But, if the past two weeks are any indication, being the smaller dog in the fight hasn’t bothered Bulloch.
    “Our style of play revolves around our speed and our quickness,” said Morgan. “We don’t try to be a power team.”
    Bulloch opened the season with a 40-0 drubbing of David Emanuel Academy but lost last week to Pinewood Christian Academy 19-0. But against the powerful Class AAA Patriots, it was a one-touchdown game until late in the fourth quarter.
    Tonight, the Gators must contend the Crusaders’ Wing-T offense.
    “The Wing-T is a finesse offense,” said Morgan. “It takes as much discipline to defend the Wing-T as it does the triple option. The key to the Wing-T is always going to be the two offensive guards and the fullback. These three players do a tremendous job for Robert Toombs.”
    Toombs’ talented trio is senior fullback Malone Hart (5-9, 175 pounds) and sophomore guards Michael Helms (5-11, 220 pounds) and Tucker Ouzts (6-2, 250 pounds). Last week, they led RTCA to a 46-16 whipping of Briarwood Academy. In their opening game of the season, the Crusaders were pounded 44-22 by Pinewood.
    Last season against the Gators, the Crusaders took a 7-0 halftime lead. But Murphy’s Law struck Bulloch in the third quarter and RTCA eventually rolled away from Gator Alley with a 35-14 win.
    “What happened last year is something we all want to forget,” said Morgan. “Last year is last year. This is a new team with new goals and new ideas.”
    True to Morgan’s words, the 2007 Gators seem to be more focused on both sides of the ball.
    “I am very pleased with the way our defense is playing,” said Morgan. “They are swarming to the football and using their speed to make things happen.”
    Five seniors top the defensive statistics. Defensive tackle Ben Newton leads with 141⁄2 tackles with five being for negative yardage. Linebacker Michael Deloach has nine tackles, both defensive end Drew Cheshire and nose guard Michael Kimbrell have 11 each and defensive back Ethan Lovett has 10.
    Offensively, the Gators rolled up 385 yards of total offense (359 rushing) against the Eagles in Week 1 but were limited to 194 against the Patriots.
    “It’s all about consistency now,” said Morgan. “We’re going to continue to do what we do best and rep those plays until we can’t get them wrong.
    “Against Pinewood, we moved the football but the field-position battle cost us,” added Morgan. “We got 12 first downs. Normally, getting 12 first downs will win you a football game. But you can get a bunch of first downs when you start deep in your own territory almost every time.”
    Senior quarterback Jordan Walker has tallied 253 yards on 30 carries in two games, scoring three times. Junior fullback David Poole has 107 yards on 12 carries. Walker has completed six passes for 90 yards. Senior receivers Will Powell and Lovett have three catches each.
    Morgan looks for a tight contest tonight in the unfriendly confines of the RTCA campus.
    “It’s always a dogfight when you go to Lyons,” said Morgan. “They have a rich tradition of winning. It’s always been a big rivalry. Both teams come in with 1-1 records. Tonight, somebody’s going to fall below .500.”

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