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New season begins for Devils
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    “Everybody was kind of shocked,” said quarterback Luke Connell. “We thought that we were going to come out on top in that game. We knew that we could have left more out on the field than we did.”
    Statesboro’s 10-0 loss to Ware County last Friday fell somewhere in between a late-season collapse and a blessing. The third loss in the last five games for SHS (7-3) almost sent the Blue Devils home. Instead, Statesboro got a new lease on life with Brunswick’s win over Effingham County and was rewarded with a trip to Bainbridge this Friday.
    “As long as we got a breath, we still have a chance,” said coach Steve Pennington.
    The Blue Devils went back to work behind Womack Field on Monday well into the darkness in preparations for a Bainbridge squad (7-3) that is coming off a loss of their own. The Bearcats fell 55-20 at home to Thomas County Central in the Region 1-AAAA title game last week.
    “We’re just happy to have another chance this week to step up and show what Blue Devil football’s about,” said Connell. “Practice (Monday) was awesome. We got a couple new plays in and had some people switching (positions). Practice was all out today — everybody gave their best.”
    Connell added that at this point in the season everybody is at 0-0.
    “It’s time to shine,” said the junior. “We got to step up and do our best and we got to come to play.”
    The loss to Ware was the third time Statesboro had been shutout offensively this season. All three of those game were losses, but in the first two SHS rebounded with wins.
    “We had a very productive day,” said Pennington. “There’s no doubt — in one sense — the disappointment is apparent. But we had some attitude adjustments today and we focused not only on getting better but on Bainbridge, and our players responded beautifully.”
    Bainbridge and Statesboro last met in 2005 — also in the first round of the playoffs — with SHS winning 38-18. The winner of Friday’s first round playoff game will face Baldwin or Fayette County.

SHS playoff bus
    The Statesboro Quarterback Club will sponsor a bus to the game against Bainbridge on Friday.  The bus will leave at 1 p.m. near the fieldhouse and the price is $50, which includes your ticket for the game. Reserve your seats early, the bus will only seat 47 passengers.  If you have any questions, please call Richard Deal at 687-3037 or Vicki Connell at 764-7693.

    Chad Bishop can be reached at (912) 489-9408.