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BA hopes to avoid upset

    According to the most recent Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) Coaches Poll, Bulloch Academy is the king of the mountain in Class AA football and the Brentwood Eagles come to Statesboro tonight to try and knock them off.
    “I don’t put much stock in polls,” said BA head coach Clint Morgan. “All that is is someone else’s opinion. The number one ranking is flattering but along with it comes a bullseye.”
    Bulloch had a rough-and-tumble time with the Eagles last year in Sandersville. The Gators went on a 10-play, 70-yard drive to score the tying touchdown with 2:01 left in the game. Tailback Trevor Darden broke loose and raced 48 yards for the score. Jeremiah Masters booted the game-winning extra point but only because holder Jordan Walker quickly scooped up a wobbly snap and set it perfectly on the tee. There was over 725 yards of total offense and eight fumbles in the contest.
    “I hope it’s not like last year,” said Morgan. “There was a lot of offense and a lot of turnovers for both teams.
    This year, the Gators (4-1) and the Eagles (1-3-1) are a lot alike.
    “We are a mirror image of each other,” said Morgan. “This might be the only team we face all year that’s our size. They have good team speed, just like we do, play good defense, just like we do, and have a lot of offensive weapons, just like we do. No one expected them to throw the ball this year and they are. I guess that’s another one of those similarities.”
    Fullback Dalton Harris and wingback Dartavious Brown, who played at Bulloch last season, lead the Eagle Wing-T offense.
    “Dalton is a hard-nosed, aggressive runner,” said Morgan. “He’s got good quick feet and his speed is very deceptive. Of course, we know what kind of speed Dart has. It’s going to be hard for us to match that. Our goal is to keep him hemmed up.”
    So far this season, the Gator defense has been doing a good job hemming up opposing offenses.
    Through five games, BA has limited opponents to 166 yards of total offense and 9.2 points per game. Linebacker Michael Deloach leads the defense with 20 individual tackles and 19 assists. Other defensive leaders include linebacker Ethan Lovett (18, 18), nose guard Michael Kimbrell (18, 17), defensive tackle Ben Newton (16, 12), defensive tackle Nathan Brown (15, 23), defensive end Eli Strickland (15, 23) and strong safety Matthew Sapp (14, 23).
    “Our defense is playing really well,” said Morgan. “Kimbrell had 11 tackles last week from a nose guard position. Numbers like that are usually unheard of from that position in our 5-2 defensive scheme.”
    Brentwood will be in either a 5-3 or 6-2 defensive formation against the Gators.
    “They move well to the football,” said Morgan. “Their defensive coordinator, Lee Lord, has always done an outstanding job of preparing his defenses.”
    But, which Gator offense did he prepare for? Was it the run-oriented triple option or pass-oriented spread?
    “I know I sound like a broken record but we have so many different weapons to choose from,” said Morgan.
    Quarterback Jordan Walker, with his quick reads and deceptive fakes in Bulloch’s brand of the triple option, leads the Gators in rushing with 432 yards and seven touchdowns. Wingback Ethan Lovett has 293 yards and five TDs while fullback David Poole has 230 yards.
    But Walker has also completed 23-of-48 passes for 330 yards and five scores. Last week, he connected on 12-of-18 for 149 and two scores from a more pass-oriented offense. Lovett and Will Powell have seven receptions each (Powell for 103 yards and Lovett for 62) while newcomer Darion Carter has six (123 yards).
    Morgan forsees a real war tonight but, like any good commander, he has a sound battle plan.
    “If we can control the clock, not have any turnovers and play good defense, we’ll have a good opportunity to win the football game,” he said. “The goal of any offense is to win the time of possession while putting points on the board. Hopefully, we can do that tonight.”

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