For Statesboro, the 2011 football season was supposed to be one that reaffirmed dominance and ended in a championship.
MACON - Austin Simmons rushed for 155 yards and scored four touchdowns to lead second-ranked Stratford Academy to a 42-7 over Bulloch Academy in the opening round of the GISA Class AAA playoffs.
It may only be the first round of the playoffs, but tonight's matchup between Statesboro and Thomas County Central has all the makings of a title bout.
In August, Bulloch Academy traveled to Sparta to meet GISA Class AAA megapower Stratford Academy in the John Hancock Preseason Kickoff Classic.
Things weren't looking great for Bulloch Academy during last week's game. With all-important playoff seeding on the line, the Gators trailed rival Pinewood Christian, 21-14, with just over 10 minutes to play.
Claxton's Michael Peel, seated in center, is joined by family and coaches as he signs his letter of intent to play baseball for the University of Georgia next season.
Bulloch Academy has endured a host of changes on the football field this season, but one constant remains. With the GISA state playoffs set to begin this week, the Gators (8-2) are one of just eight teams still in the hunt for the Class AAA title.
Statesboro and Bulloch Academy have playoff games to prepare for this week, but there are a handful of other football teams around the area that are done for the season. Their postseason dreams may have disappeared in the final week of the regular season, but there is a bright future waiting for those players that will return next year.
BELLVILLE - Bulloch Academy scored 28 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to outlast Pinewood Christian Academy Friday night and capture its second straight trip to the GISA Class AAA playoffs.
SAVANNAH - Stung by a 71-yard run by Calvary quarterback Jake Clemens the Portal Panthers suffered a second half collapse and dropped a 34-8 play-in game to the Cavaliers Friday night at M.C. Anderson Field.
For the second time in as many seasons, Statesboro is dancing its way into the GHSA state playoffs as a No. 1 seed and a region champion.
The Region 2-AAAA champion will be decided tonight as Ware County comes to Womack Field to take on Statesboro in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
PORTAL - For the last five games, Portal has looked like a state playoff team.
When two historic rivals square off on the football field, the game holds a lot of meaning for players, fans and alums.
PORTAL – As the Portal Panthers tucked themselves into bed on the night of Sept. 16, there wasn't a whole lot to be excited about on the football field. The Panthers had just suffered a 14-0 defeat to Johnson County in their first sub-region contest and had given up leads the previous two weeks in another pair of losses.
Bulloch Academy senior Will Marsh scored a career-high 27 points to lead the Gators to a 61-47 thrashing of Tiftarea Academy in the first round of the GISA Class AAA state boys' basketball playoffs Thursday night.
Bulloch Academy point guard Ashley Burke used her superb ball-handling skills and quickness to lead the Lady Gators to a 61-46 victory over Deerfield-Windsor School in the opening round of the GISA Class AAA girls' basketball tournament Tuesday night.
PORTAL - For the third consecutive season, the Portal Panthers have reached the quarterfinals of the Class A state playoffs.
The Bulloch Academy boys' and girls' basketball teams will be able to stay home for the first round, and possibly second, of the GISA Class AAA basketball tournaments this week.
PORTAL - A three-pointer by Tyler Budgett off the opening tip and then a monstrous slam from Trent Thomas opened the game for the Portal Panthers as they raced out to an early lead and never looked back, cruising to a 78-58 win over Taylor County the opening round of the Class A state playoffs.
After having been swept by Trinity Christian School of Dublin during the regular season, the Bulloch Academy Lady Gators got the sweetest revenge possible Friday night in the championship game of the GISA Region 2-AAA basketball tournament.
PORTAL - After last year's loss in the Elite Eight, the Portal Panthers are back in the state playoffs looking for another run deep into the tournament with this year's squad.
Statesboro raised some eyebrows earlier this week with its win over Drew in the first round of the Class AAAAA state basketball playoffs.
In early February, the Bulloch Academy Lady Gators struggled and suffered defeat when they had to play without star senior forward Pate Lomax due to injury.
After a winter spent celebrating win after win on the wrestling mat, the only thing more dominant than Bulloch Academy's individuals at last weekend's GISA Class AAA state meet in Macon was the Gators' runaway showing on the team leader board.
When basketball season began back in November, the Statesboro Blue Devils weren't sure what to expect.
Both Bulloch Academy basketball teams hold the top seeds headed into this week's GISA Region 2-AAA basketball tournament.
BROOKLET - In her varsity debut, freshman Emily Barnard scored four goals to lead Southeast Bulloch to a 10-0 season opening victory over Dodge County in girls soccer Thursday at Fred Shaver Field.
Two-time state wrestling champions Justin Lane and Dylan Stuckey lead a talented group of grapplers in a march to Americus this weekend to capture the GISA Class AAA crown.