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Gators set for speedy Blazers
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Bulloch Academy's David Poole, 21, and the Gators will look for their third win tonight Gator Alley. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/file
    Bulloch Academy football coach Clint Morgan uses one word over and over again when he talks about tonight’s opponent, the Bethesda Day School Blazers.
    “They are a very, very, very athletic football team,” Morgan said. “I can’t use that word enough this week. They have a lot of team speed and really run well. Their main strength is their team speed.”
    The Blazers (1-2) lost 35-6 in the opening week of the season to Flint River Academy. In its second game, Bethesda held tight with Brookwood, then top-ranked team in Class AA. It was a tight 14-12 contest late in the game, but the Warriors came away with a 28-12 victory. Last week, the Blazers blasted Memorial Day School 39-0.
According to Morgan, the Blazers run a wide-open offense, similar to West Virginia, and they like to put the ball in the air.
    “Quarterback Daniel Wilson is definitely their team leader,” said Morgan. “Darnell Mitchell and Sage Brown split time at tailback. All three are very shifty, run hard and are strong enough that it will take more than one person to bring them down.”
    The Gator defense limited last week’s opponent, Robert Toombs Christian Academy, to just 134 total yards in BA’s 42-6 victory. Through three games, Bulloch has limited foes to an average of 159 yards of total offense and 8.3 points per contest.
    “We feel like the biggest improvement we have made this season with our defense was done in the offseason,” said Morgan, referring to the summer weightlifting and conditioning program.
    Senior defensive tackle Ben Newton and junior linebacker Michael Deloach lead the Gator defense with 13 solo tackles and 12 assists each. Newton leads the team in tackles for loss with six.
    Other defensive leaders include senior linebacker Ethan Lovett (11 solo, 13 assists), senior defensive end Drew Cheshire (11, 11) and senior nose guard Michael Kimbrell (10, 11).
    “Our defense is doing a great job at swarming to the football,” said Morgan, whose Gators are ranked second in the most recent GISA Coaches Poll. “With the athleticism of Bethesda, it’s going to take every bit of that.”
    The Blazer defense, according to Morgan, runs a 5-3 scheme and is very aggressive.
    “Chris MacPherson is their middle linebacker and does a lot of stunting,” said Morgan. “Tyrone Brinson plays a very good and aggressive defensive end.”
    Even though it’s early in the season, Bulloch’s offense seems to firing on all cylinders.
    Averaging 267 total yards and 27.3 points per game, senior quarterback Walker is a master of deception with the triple-option. He has rushed for 313 yard and five scores. Junior fullback David Poole has 166 yards while senior wingback Lovett has 108 yards and four TDs.
    Last week, Walker, Poole and Lovett had 60, 59 and 59 yards respectively against Robert Toombs. The special teams units also shone with 170 yards of returns by Lovett and Poole.
    “Our goal is to become a balanced offensive team,” said Morgan, “not only with running and passing but with the number of different hands that are touching the ball. We want people to have to prepare for a lot of different weapons.”