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Devils stumble against Dogs
ECI blanks Statesboro at stormy scrimmage, 14-0
Lightening 5 col COL
Statesboro High football fans huddle near the restrooms at Womack Field as lightning streaks through the sky. Friday's scrimmage against Emanuel County Institute was delayed over one-and-a-half hours because of the weather.

    Luckily for the Statesboro Blue Devils, they have another two weeks to prepare. As for Emanuel County Institute, the Bullldogs looked well-polished and ready for the start of the 2007 season as they beat SHS 14-0 Friday night at Womack Field in a preseason scrimmage.

    “Both sides of the ball just — just weren’t good at all,” said junior quarterback Luke Connell. “Offense mostly. We didn’t get the snaps when we needed to, we didn’t make the plays when we needed to — and I take some of the blame for it.”

    The Bulldogs took the first possession of the game and drove 54 yards in eight plays to take a 7-0 lead with a 13-yard plunge by senior Nick Cross. And as quickly as ECI struck the scoreboard, lightning struck the air, clearing the playing field for a 1-hour-and-38-minute delay.

    Play resumed at 8:45 p.m., but not soon enough for SHS, as Connell fumbled the exchange from his center on the first play out of the break, giving ECI the ball on the 24.

    “We found out that if you play somebody else and you make turnovers — especially inside your own 20-yard line — the odds are not going to be in your favor,” said SHS coach Steve Pennington. “There’s a lot of positives we’ll find from here. We knew going in we had some weaknesses — thank goodness we have two weeks to correct them.”

    The two squads played to a stalemate until the third quarter, when on the last play of the period, Connell bootlegged to his left on third-and-seven. His pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage, picked out of the air by ECI junior Dexter Moody and ran in from 14 yards out to provide the final margin.

    The Bulldogs used a stout rushing attack all night, led by junior Washaun Ealey. Ealey rushed for 84 yards on 12 carries.

    Statesboro was led by junior Nic Lanier who gained 41 yards on the ground. The furthest the Devils got into ECI territory was the 45-yard line.

    “We got a good group and we’ll get it right,” Pennington added. The Blue Devils travel to Screven County on Aug. 31 while ECI will play at Metter the same day.

    Junior Varsity

    After the first two quarters, both side sent their junior varsity teams onto the field for eight minutes of offense apiece. Neither team scored as of press time.

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