The Statesboro Blue Devils ensured themselves of controlling their own destiny in the state playoffs this past Friday night, as they were able to hold off South Effingham on the road in Guyton winning 40-34. The Blue Devil offense had one of their most effective games of the season, and the defense managed to make the plays when they had to for the victory.
“Our kids did exactly what we asked them to do Friday night,” said Statesboro coach Jeff Kaiser. “They fought hard the entire time, and I was extremely proud of the outcome and the effort. I felt like offensively we executed well, and took advantage of some things they gave us. Defensively for about three and a half quarters we held them in check, some things that were out of our control may have affected things late in the game, but overall they played well.”
For the second year in a row the Blue Devils enter the final game of the regular season with a lot on the line. A victory over New Hampstead Friday, and the Blue Devils assure themselves of the third seed in the region, and a spot in the state AAAA playoffs. If the Blue Devils lose they will be in a three way tie, with the possibility of anything from a third or fourth seed, to missing out on the state playoffs altogether.
“If we can take care of business and do what we need to do we will be the three seed,” Kaiser said. “It is senior night, and I hope we will come out focused. If we don’t win it creates a mess, and a scenario that nobody wants to be involved in.”
The Phoenix enter Friday’s game with a record of 3-6, and while their record may not be impressive, one thing New Hampstead has been able to do all season is score points. The Phoenix average over 30 points per game, and have done it against some pretty good opponents. New Hampstead scored 35 points against Wayne County, 40 points against undefeated Pierce County, and lost to South Effingham 48-47.
“This is another top 10 offense in all of AAAAA,” said Kaiser. “Their combination of athleticism and speed is very impressive. They are very tough to defend, and very explosive, similar to South Effingham.
The Phoenix's main weapon is senior offensive weapon Sam Brown. The 6-3 senior has been used at all skill positions this season by head coach Kyle Hockman. He has hurt Statesboro in the past as a quarterback, but is equally effective as a wide receiver, or even running the ball on end arounds.
“Brown is their main weapon, but they have a lot of kids who can hurt you,” Kaiser said. “They have lost a lot of close games to some good teams. I expect a battle Friday night.”
Statesboro and New Hampstead are scheduled for a 7:30 kickoff Friday night at Womack Field. It is also the Statesboro Herald game of the week, and can be viewed beginning at 7:20 at statesboroherald.com .