The Bulloch Academy Gators kicked off the 2018 season in style as they knocked off the Pinewood Patriots 42-8 in the 7th annual Erk Russell Classic at Paulson Stadium.
“It was such a neat environment to get our season underway,” said Bulloch Academy coach Pat Collins. “We played a solid game on both sides of the ball. There is still plenty of room for growth, but when you can prevail over your rival on that stage it was a good day for Bulloch Academy.”
Offensively the Gators were without the services of senior quarterback Don Aaron for all but two plays, as he recovers from an injured hamstring. Junior Fisher Ogelsby filled in well going 3-3 through the air, and rushing for a 19 yard touchdown. Ty Mingle did most of the work in the backfield with 22 carries for 179 yards and three touchdowns.
“Fisher did a great job managing the situation,” Collins said. “He managed the game admirably and did exactly what we asked from him. I felt our offensive line opened up plenty of holes but I liked what I saw from both Ty Mingle and Rodney Hill.”
On defense the Gators were able to keep Pinewood on their side of the field for most of the game, and also created two turnovers that led to Gator scores.
“I feel we felt our way out early, but the longer we played the better our defense looked,” Collins said. “Forcing a pair of turnovers that both led to scores is a good indicator of how we should operate this season. I would also like to commend our kicking and punting game which was outstanding.”
This week Bulloch Academy gets their home season underway at Gator Alley, as they host Edmund Burke.
“This will be their season opener so they will be very excited,” Collins said. “They are a senior laden team led by their senior running back Collier Smith who is 6’1’’ and 220 pounds. They remind me a lot of the way we played when I coached at Southeast Bulloch.”
The Spartans are coming off a 6-5 season in which they made the state playoffs, but lost in the opening round to Valwood 49-7. Last year the Gators knocked off Edmund Burke by a count of 17-0.
“This is a hard nosed team that is well coached and have a powerful offense,” Collins said. “They will try and slam us with three or four yards per carry and shorten the game. They are going to run it, we are going to run it, so it will be a short game that I think a turnover could decide the outcome.
Bulloch Academy and Edmund Burke get things underway at 7:30 p.m. at Gator Alley.