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Bulloch Academy Gators kick off season vs. FPCA squad looking for first win

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Bulloch Academy Gators kick off season vs. FPCA squad looking for first win

    The loss columns for both Bulloch Academy and First Presbyterian Christian Academy stand at '0' as the 2014 season kicks off at 7:30 p.m. tonight in Gator Alley, but each of the schools are looking to cast off losing streaks dating back to last fall.
    Bulloch finished the 2013 campaign with a 3-7 mark – including six consecutive losses to round out the season – and missed out on the state playoffs for the first time since 2006. On the other sideline, the Highlanders will be trying to secure their first victory in the program’s two-year, 20-game history.
    Bulloch’s biggest challenge leading up to tonight’s game is that there hasn’t been a whole lot leading up to tonight’s game. Weather issues have limited the Gators to holding full-contact practices less than a dozen times during fall camp. Adding to the frustration, Bulloch’s only scheduled scrimmage was rained out.
    “I won’t lie,” first-year Bulloch coach Terence Hennessy said. “We’re a little concerned. That’s how it’s going to be when we’re so limited in what we can do to prepare for the season. I think our guys are ready to play hard, but playing so early and with so many things holding up our practices is definitely a challenge.”
    One thing is certain.
    Bulloch will begin its season with a new quarterback under center for a second consecutive season.
    Lanier Oliff showed promise as a quarterback in the spring of 2013, but an injury kept him out of action until late last fall. Now entrusted with the offense, he’ll spearhead the Gators’ option attack.
    On the defensive side, a pair of veterans will lead the way as Dylan Stuckey and Lee Waters will look to stall out the Highlanders.
    “It’s a little tough to prepare,” Hennessy said. “In addition to everything we’re trying to square away, there isn’t much film on (FPCA). On top of that, when it’s the first game of the season, you never know if someone will be running what you’ve seen them run on tape.”
    With both teams still working out the kinks in preparations for region schedules that will determine their state playoff fates, there will still be a feel-things-out mentality despite the fact that everything counts from here on out.
    “We’ll probably play more guys (tonight) than we will in other games,” Hennessy said. “We’re still building depth and seeing where all of the pieces need to line up.”
    And – as with any coach – it’s the simple things that are weighting the hardest on Bulloch before beginning their journey through the 2014 season.
    “If we have no stupid penalties, no mental mistakes, and can handle adversity, I think we will be successful,” Hennessy said. “I believe we will get better on a weekly basis. If we do that, we should be ready for our region games in October.”
    Tonight’s game can be viewed live online and on mobile devices at The Gators and Highlanders are featured in the first of 13 games in 12 weeks of the Statesboro Herald’s 7th season of ‘Friday Night Live’ a live-streaming webcast that brings viewers coverage of area prep football games each week.
    Rahn Hutcheson contributed to this article.

    Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9408.

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