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Blue Devils host Terrors for home opener

Parking limited at Womack Field

    With Glynn Academy headed into Statesboro tonight, it’d be difficult to talk about the Blue Devil-Red Terror match-up without visiting last year’s thriller in Brunswick.
    Nursing a 7-3 lead late in the fourth quarter, John Knox picked off a Jay Flexor pass with under 20 seconds left to help SHS preserve a win and avoid an early season shocker.
    Both Flexor and Knox are gone, however, and both squads have changed a good bit since September 2006.
    “I wouldn’t think (the 2006 game) would be any sort of motivating factor,” said SHS coach Steve Pennington. “If I were in their shoes I would be very confident at 2-0. You focus more on the present and the future than you do thinking about what may have happened.”
    Another factor that will play into the contest is Statesboro’s untimely bye week. The Blue Devils (1-0) kicked off the season with the rest of Georgia on Aug. 30, but have had to settle back down with two straight weeks of practice.
    “The good thing about (opening night) is it’s come and gone.” he said. “Now we can focus nine straight weeks in our preparations for someone else. It also gave us an opportunity to go back to the drawing board and continue to work on fundamentals.”
    While the Blue Devils took hits on the defensive side of the ball due to graduation, GA (2-0) had the same problem on the offensive line. The Terrors are off to impressive start with wins over Bradwell Institute and Wayne County, and are doing it with speed.
    Brandon McMullen and Aaron Gittings lead the wide receiving corps, while Daryl Armstrong and David Bailey head up the backfield.
    “They have the entire backfield back — with the exception of their quarterback,” Pennington said. “Their speed did pose a problem for us last year. These guys are a year older, more experienced and they really work their offense around their speed.”
    Thus, the Blue Devils have focused their defensive efforts this week on containing that speed, by practicing on taking the correct angle to the ball and reading keys to be in the right spot at the right time.
    On defense, the Terrors are led by linebacker Frank Demery and safety Roy Mangrum.
    “Defensively they posed a great problem to us last year,” said Pennington.” They utilize their linebackers, sending them quite often. They create havoc by a lot of penetration. We’ve got to dictate to them — not let them dictate to us.”
    With Glynn’s blitzing attack, Pennington hinted the Devils could open the passing game for quarterback Luke Connell, receivers Diego Prince and Torrance Whitaker and split end Sherrod Natson.
    After all is said and done, Friday’s game could come down to a kick, and Glynn would most certainly have the edge with Michael Canter and Brett Bearden. Both Canter and Bearden are Division I college prospects and could dictate the game in terms of field position.
    “Field position is going to be key,” Pennington added. “And don’t be surprised if you see a 50-yard field goal from them. So hats off to them because that’s a weapon that’s pretty doggone special.”
    
    Chad Bishop can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

Parking
    The Fleming Road side of the stadium will be open for this Friday’s game with Glynn Academy as well as the other four home games this season. There will be no entry from Lester Road, either vehicular or pedestrian, due to construction.  There are approximately 400 parking spaces on the Fleming Drive side of the stadium.  These will be available on a first come first serve basis.
    One alternative for fans that do not want to contend with the parking issues is to take the free shuttle from the K-Mart parking lot which drops fans off right in front of the entry gate and returns them to their cars after the game ends.  The shuttle will begin running at 6 p.m. until 7:30 (kickoff) and then resume at 9 p.m. until everyone is back at their vehicle. Game tickets ($6) will be on sale at the shuttle site which will allow fans to avoid the ticket lines once they reach the stadium.  The shuttle service is located in the back of the garden center parking lot at K-Mart.


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