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Bulloch Academy ready to kick off season against David Emanuel
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    Blocking and tackling the same guys for almost a month can get monotonous.

    “It’s been a very long four weeks,” said Bulloch Academy head coach Clint Morgan. “It’s about time that we hit somebody other than ourselves. Our kids are hungry and chomping for the bits at the opportunity to play a real game that matters.”

    Morgan’s Gators will get that opportunity tonight when they travel to Stillmore to battle cross-county rival David Emanuel Academy in the season opener for both teams.

    A very large but very young bunch of Eagles await the Gators. Six of the nine players listed as offensive linemen on the DEA roster are 200 pounds or more. Four of them tip the scales at more than 240.

    “They are very big up front,” said Morgan.

    According to first-year head coach James Ferry, “they’re freshmen and they play like freshmen.”

    Ferry, a crafty veteran who has most recently spent time as an assistant at Metter High School, has installed a split-back veer offense.

    “We will look for what the defense will give us and take a little bit at a time,” he said. But Morgan is wary of at least two Eagle players.

    “Joseph Sparks (RB, 6-0, 180) has some good speed,” said Morgan. “Brandon Blount (QB, 6-3, 185) is very deceptive. Their combination of size and speed can be dangerous.”

    Defensively, the Eagles run a variation of the 4-3 defense and Ashton Lanier (6-1, 165) is the chief DEA headhunter.

    “Lanier is a very good defensive football player,” said Morgan. “He really likes to hit. He has that middle-linebacker mentality.”

    The Gators enter the contest with a year of playing the triple option under their belts.

    “I feel very comfortable with where we are both offensively and defensively,” said Morgan. “We really didn’t have to adjust this year to anything new. The offensive and defensive schemes are still the same. That helps the kids’ feel more comfortable.”

    Jordan Walker (6-1, 170) returns at quarterback for his final season of wearing the Green and Gold. The triple-option offense suited him well last season as he was extremely deceptive in his fakes to the fullback, quick at finding the hole on the keeper and great on determining when and if to pitch to the trailing runner.

    David Poole (5-10, 175) is a returning starter at fullback while Ethan Lovett (6-0, 175) and Troy Poulin (6-0, 160) will be the starting wingbacks in the spread formation.

    “You can’t win in this league without running the football,” said Morgan. “It’d be safe to say that we’ll run the football 75 percent of the time. We want to be the type of team that tries to throw the ball when we want to and not when we have to.”

    Ferry knows how explosive an option offense can be and plans to slow it down with good fundamental football.

    “We’re just going to play assignment football and tackle,” he said. “Football is all about blocking and tackling. Bulloch Academy has a long tradition of playing good football. We just want to be competitive. The guys are really looking forward to tonight. This is a big game and it’s a big rivalry for them.”