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Blue Devils head to Bradwell for scrimmage
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            Statesboro will get a chance to evaluate itself tonight when they travel to Hinesville to face Bradwell Institute in a preseason scrimmage.

            The contest will give both squads a chance to work out some kinks  and gauge where they are on the sliding scale of preparedness.

            It will also give the players a chance to hit someone with a different colored jersey on.

            “That feels real well just thinking about it,” said linebacker Rob Pennington on the prospects of running into a different opponent. “It kinda gets old just hitting the same old people.”

            Two weeks into fall camp and two weeks to go until the season opener August 29 against Josey, the Blue Devils are looking at this point as the unofficial halfway point of the preseason.

            “We have done a cram course in these (first two) weeks in trying to get everything in,” said coach Steve Pennington. “Once we get everything in, we want to go back and fine tune it. There’s still some things there where we have some glitches — we’re still in the process of moving some players around. We’re glad where we are, but we know we still have a lot of things to correct.”

            Bradwell finished 5-6 in 2007, dropping its final two games to powerhouses Camden County and Valdosta by a combined 91-7. The Valdosta loss came in the first round of the Class AAAAA playoffs and the Tigers are poised to make a return trip to the postseason.

            “We’re not learning too much about this team,” said defensive end Willie Shelton. “We’re just going to play football — simple as that.”

            Last season, the Devils scrimmaged eventual Class A state champ Emanuel County Institute. The final score read 14-0, but coach Pennington was more concerned with the mental state of his team after the fact.

            “I know last year we didn’t put a lot of emphasis on ECI and we looked pretty bad when we played them,” he said Wednesday at practice. “What’s important is that we stay focused on our fundamentals and our techniques and so therefore there’s not a lot of preparation going in. We want to  see how we respond from the coaching on the sideline.”

            Pennington added that he and his staff plan on playing plenty of young players to see how they respond in the game atmosphere. He’ll also be keeping an eye on how his seniors respond in leading those younger Blue Devils .

            Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.


            Chad Bishop can be reached at (912) 489-9408.