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Bulloch Academy, Statesboro High both at home Friday night
The Bulloch Academy defense makes a stop against the Thomas Jefferson onslaught in the first half of the Oct. 15 game in Louisville. BA held tight early, but could never muster up any offense in a 35-7 setback. - photo by Special to the Herald

BA welcomes Frederica to Gator Alley

Bulloch Academy went into last Friday’s game with Thomas Jefferson with a 3-3 record and had been within a touchdown of every team they had played. That all changed Friday in Louisville as the Gators were whipped by former Bulloch Academy head coach Terence Hennessy and his Jaguars by a score of 35-7. 

“Thomas Jefferson is by far the best team we have played this year and will probably be the best team we play all season,” said Gator coach Aaron Phillips. “They have already beaten the top three teams in Class-AA and beat Pinewood in a scrimmage this year as well. Their running game is the best we have seen and they just beat us up and down the field getting seven or eight yards per carry. We had a couple moments where we got close on offense, but either we did something wrong, or they did something right which stalled our drives.”

Friday also marked the first time this year in which the Gators have lost back-to- back games and have scored less than three touchdowns. Phillips feels it’s important that the Gators put the last two games behind them and try to focus on finishing the season strong.

“We told them after the game how important it was to come back here Monday and just say your record is 0-0 and get ready for this week,” said Phillips. “Things start over this week as region starts. Our goal is still in front of us and we really need a good week of practice. The past three weeks there have been distractions and we will have to deal with that again with it being fall break.”

The Gators have three important games left as they try and make a state playoff run. Friday, they return home where they will host Frederica who come in with a record of 2-5. The Knights are led by junior running back Jordan Triplett who has rushed for 4,451 yards in his three seasons and is averaging 150-yards rushing per game and 50 receiving yards per contest to go along with 14 touchdowns.

“Triplett is a Division-1 running back,” said Phillips. “We have to find some way to stop him. He is their offense and 90 percent of their offense runs through him. He may take snaps in the Wildcat formation or if he is in the backfield, they will give him the ball and if he splits out wide, they will throw him the ball. They go to all kinds of formations but ultimately everything is set up to get Triplett the ball. If we can stop him, I feel like we can be successful.” 

The Gators and Knights are scheduled for a 7:30 kickoff Friday night at Gator Alley.


Statesboro takes on winless Bradwell

The Statesboro Blue Devils enter this week with a 2-5 overall record and are 1-1 in region play. The Blue Devils were tied or leading in three of those losses. Last Friday was one of only two games in which the Blue Devils were never really in the game, unfortunately it came in a region matchup with Coffee County. Head coach Jeff Kaiser felt the biggest difference in Friday’s game with Coffee was the physical nature up front where Coffee seemed to have a major edge.

“The biggest issues we had was in the physicality up front on the offensive and defensive lines,” said Kaiser. “Coffee is as good as you’ll see up front on both sides of the ball. We are working on some ways to get people out of our face offensively when people load the box on us. We are also trying to move some guys around on defense where we can run better to the football.”

In addition to having to prepare for a region matchup Friday with Bradwell Institute the Blue Devils coaching staff is also having to handle the distractions that come with fall break and the fair in town.

“We are going this week at 7 a.m. every morning,” said Kaiser. “It gives the kids a little more free time this week than I would like to have. It is what it is though as everyone is on fall break so you just worry about the things you can control.”

The Blue Devils will be hosting Bradwell Institute Friday at 7:30 at Womack Field. The Tigers come in with a record of 0-7 overall and 0-2 in region play.

“They have about 200 route combinations and two quarterbacks who can throw very well,” said Kaiser. “One of their quarterbacks can also run very well. What stands out is how hard they play. They haven’t had much success this season but they have a good plan and play very hard.”

It is worth noting that while the Tigers are winless on the season, they have two common opponents with the Blue Devils this season. They lost by one more point than Statesboro against Wayne County, and actually scored two touchdowns against Coffee County while the Blue Devils only managed a field goal.

“We haven’t been successful enough this year to be beating our chest that we are playing a team that hasn’t won a game this year,” said Kaiser. “This Bradwell team is very well coached and play very hard so we better be ready for them.”

Statesboro and Bradwell are slated for a 7:30 kickoff Friday at Womack Field.