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Gators face must-win situation
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    High-school homecomings conjure up memories of mums with the number of a specific football player in the middle, members of the homecoming court nervously walking across the field at halftime with each secretly wishing that their name would be called and the night-ending homecoming dance.
    The football game?
    A lopsided victory over a weak opponent.
    At Bulloch Academy’s homecoming tonight, the first three events will be true. The fourth, and most important to head football coach Clint Morgan, will not.
    “We don’t have a choice who we pick for homecoming,” said Morgan. “I’ve been here nine years and homecoming has always been the next-to-last home game, regardless of opponent.”
    The Gators opponent is hardly an inferior one and a victory will be neither  easy nor lopsided.
    Windsor Academy, the third-ranked team in Class AA, travels from Macon to Statesboro to battle Bulloch and determine which team will advance to post-season play.    
    “Windsor has been coming on for the past three or four years,” said Morgan. “Those 24 upperclassmen were playing as freshmen and sophomores a couple of years ago.”
    For Bulloch, it’s simple. A victory means the Gators are one step closer to the playoffs. A loss and their last game of the 2007 season is next week.
    “It doesn’t get any bigger than this,” said Morgan. “Our playoffs start tonight. It’s time for senior leadership to take over. It’s time for everybody to turn it up a notch.”
    Windsor (8-1 overall, 2-1 in region play) is riding an emotional high after consecutive home wins over Region 2-AA opponents, a 36-7 whipping of Memorial Day School and a 42-0 drubbing of Edmund Burke Academy.
    Although the Knights haven’t posted their individual offensive or defense statistics on the GISA Stats Web site, quarterback Seth Fuller had a 222-yard passing game in a 28-7 loss to Trinity Christian School. He, Kent Gibson, Derek Scarbary and Dillion Mitchell lead the rushing game.
    “They have a lot of different weapons,” said Morgan. “They all carry the ball a bunch. Fuller is a good quarterback. Mitchell is a very big and physical fullback. Scarbary and Gibson rotate at tailback. In my opinion, Gibson is the best athlete on the team and he doesn’t even start on offense.”
    The Gator defense has been tough all season long, limiting opponents to 168 total yards per game (149 rush, 18 pass). Leading the charge has been linebackers Michael Deloach and Ethan Lovett. Deloach leads the Gators with 40 solo tackles, 35 assists, four tackles for loss and one recovered fumble. Lovett has 37 individual stops, 23 assists, six tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries.
    Other defensive leaders defensive tackle Nathan Brown (35, 45), defensive tackle Ben Newton (33, 25), defensive back Will Powell (32, 14) and nose guard Michael Kimbrell (30, 28).
    The Knight defense has allowed just 63 points through nine games and a little over 1,100 total yards.
    “They are very good defensively,” said Morgan. “Mitchell and Jordan Peacock are tough defensive ends, Colby Gilpin is a good linebacker and Caleb Harvard is good at nose guard. They feel like they have a pair of very good bookends (at defensive ends) and the combination of Gilpin and Harvard is tough in the middle.”
    Bulloch’s offense has averaging 303 total yards per game (233 rush, 69 pass) and scoring 28.1 points per game.
    Quarterback Jordan Walker has 827 yards and 11 touchdowns rushing in the BA triple option while Lovett has 601 yards and six TDs. Through the air, Walker is 43-of-90 for 625 yards and 11 scores. Darion Carter, who set a school-record with nine catches last week, has caught 21 balls for 352 yards and seven touchdowns.
    The Gators’ six-game winning streak was snapped by Trinity Christian School last week (28-14), setting up tonight’s slugfest to see which team becomes the region runner-up and claims the second and final playoff berth.
    “We lost to a very good football team last week, but that was last week,” said Morgan. “Our goal this week is to win this football game, keep moving forward and, if we are fortunate enough, we may see them (Windsor) again down the road.”