It’s been a rough start to the season for the Bulloch Academy Gators who currently sit 0-3 and are coming off a bye week. The Gators lost to a pair of GHSA teams to start the season and then fell on the road to Tiftarea 28-21 two weeks ago in Tifton.
Gator head coach Steve Penington feels the bye week came at a good time and feels spirits are still up despite the fact the Gators are 0-3 and have last year’s state champs John Milledge coming to call Friday night.
“Considering we are 0-3 I still feel there is excitement around our team and the kids seem to have positive attitudes,” said Pennington. “It would be easy to be a little discouraged especially with how we played against Tiftarea. The open week gave some of our players an opportunity to heal up a little. We still have a few doing rehab that will not be here, but we hope to have back soon.”
“The players have been uplifting and encouraging which has been great to see,” said Pennington. “We know we still have all of our goals ahead of us as far as our region schedule goes and that mindset has carried over into our practice sessions and in the weight room and that is encouraging to see.”
The Gators are hoping the tough non region schedule will pay dividends and they can peak at the right time as region play starts in a couple weeks.
“You really don’t have to look any further for inspiration than within our own region last year,” said Pennington. “Frederica struggled early on, but they caught fire at the right time and rode their hot streak all the way to the state championship game.”
Speaking of that state championship game the Knights hot streak was stifled out in the GISA championship by John Milledge Academy who beat them 49-0 in route to their second straight state title. After cancelling last year’s game with the Trojans due to health concerns John Milledge will be coming to Gator Alley this week.
“One of the reasons John Milledge has had so much success the past few years is they get up on top of people so much they empty the bench,” said Pennington. “Their younger players get valuable playing time at a young age and are used to being under the nights and playing on a Friday night. We had that for a while at Statesboro and I know how valuable that can be.”
The Trojans lost most of their starters from a year ago including their quarterback and entire offensive line, but the old saying seems to be true as it looks as though they have reloaded as they are currently 3-0 and have outscored their opponents by an average of 40-8. Leading the way is quarterback Briggs Eady who has thrown for 490 yards and six touchdowns and rushed for 240 yards and three scores.
“They have a lot of similarities with Calvary who we saw a couple weeks ago,” said Pennington. “They are big, but they also have speed at the skill positions and at the corners on defense. They are very versatile on offense they can throw and run equally well. They have a lot of athletes on defense as well that can get to the football. They are a well-oiled machine, but we are going to try our best to put a little rust on it when they come here Friday night.”
Bulloch Academy and John Milledge are scheduled for a 7:30 start Friday at Gator Alley