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Erk Russell Classic cancelled, local teams soldier on

There was plenty of breaking news affecting area high school football teams and their 2020 schedules.

The Erk Russell Classic was cancelled, which affected the Statesboro Blue Devils who were set to play Wayne County. Monday afternoon the Savannah Chatham County Schools announced they have moved football back until October 1st, and games will be limited to intradistrict only, which really affects Southeast Bulloch.

The Jackets' region includes Beach, Savannah High, Johnson, Windsor Forest, Groves and Liberty County. All the schools in their region except Liberty County are in the SCCS district. Liberty County has suspended football indefinitely.

“Well after being on the phone for quite a while this afternoon it was determined that all of the Savannah schools region games will be forfeited to us, and Liberty,” Said Southeast Bulloch coach Barrett Davis. “Liberty County has suspended football through the end of August at least, so I guess if they decide not to play we will be region champs.”

If Liberty County does play, the winner of the Southeast Bulloch vs. Liberty game will be region champions. There is a possibility that the Savannah schools could decide to change their minds and play in the postseason. If this occurs how they played against each other would determine the third and fourth seeds in the region.

The good news for the Jackets is they could be region champs without playing a single region game. The bad news is they would only have four non-region games left on their schedule, and no games scheduled from October 9th through the rest of the season.

“We feel like we can move things around a little and maybe find a couple of games, even though they may be against much bigger schools,” Davis said. “The biggest obstacle is finding games in November when almost all schools are in region schedules.”

The Jackets revised schedule includes opening at home Sept. 4th against Screven County, followed by a rad game at Brantley County. Southeast Bulloch will then travel to Telfair Countyon September 18th, and then host Grovetown October 2nd. Their scheduled game with Liberty is set for October 16th, followed by five straight contests against SCCS teams.

“We are trying our best to continue to control what we can, and take it day by day,” Davis said. “It’s been a strange time for sure, but we are just trying to put our head down and plan on playing until someone tells us we can’t.”

As for the Statesboro Blue Devils they have already addressed the cancellation of the Erk Russell Classic as they will be hosting Wayne County Sept. 4th at 7:30 at Womack Field.

“We know the Georgia Southern EFAA tried all they could, but it just didn’t work out with all that is going on,” Kaiser said. “I talked with Wayne County coach Ken Cribb and we decided our back up plan would be to play in Statesboro, and we are making financial arrangements to benefit both teams.”

The decision by the SCCS also happens to affect Statesboro High. The Blue Devils had a game scheduled October 2nd at home against Jenkins High School.

“Obviously with Chatham County’s decision we will have to regroup and find a game,” Kaiser said. “The entire situation is fluid. We are working on finding a new opponent now.”

The rest of the Blue Devils schedule is still up in the air, as South Effingham and Bradwell Institute have both suspended football play indefinitely. Kaiser says there are no plans to try and replace those games, and has continued to preach the importance of taking one day at a time and adaptability.

“I know it sounds cliche, but we have to focus on what we have control over,” Kaiser said. “Our kids and coaches are doing a good job of that. From day to day we don’t know what the future holds. The biggest issue from the top down is nobody’s certain about this pandemic and what we are dealing with.”

“Our administration, led by our principal Chad Prosser has done an outstanding job,” Kaiser said. “Prosser is a tremendous leader who has a great plan for when school comes back. He knows there is going to be obstacles but he has tried to prepare for every challenge thrown his way.”

The decision by the SCCS will not affect Portal or Bulloch Academy. The Panthers do not have any games scheduled against SCCS teams, and neither does Bulloch Academy. The Gators are scheduled to play against Savannah Country Day and Calvary, but both are private schools and not SCCS members.