One of the best things about sports — at least for those who enjoy more than just one particular sport — is that the pages on the calendar can turn without the fun and games ever coming to an end.
Sure, different seasons come and go and names on the rosters are continually changing, but in the sporting world, the peaks and valleys of wins and losses are tempered by the fact that another game is just around the corner.
Throughout the seasons and spanning all of the different sports in our area, 2014 was another banner year at the prep level. From individual greatness to team titles, Bulloch County schools had plenty to celebrate.
Here are some of the highlights from the year that was:
Another SEB football milestone
Southeast Bulloch came up one win shy of making a second consecutive appearance in the state football playoffs, but the reemergence of the Yellow Jackets’ program crossed another item off its checklist with a sub-region title. Even more impressive was the way SEB went about doing it.
The Jackets shook off four straight losses to open the season and hit their stride just in time for sub-region play. SEB takes the cake for the most dramatic play of the 2014 season as it eschewed a tying PAT in the final minutes of the sub-region championship game, instead rushing for a two-point conversion to get the win.
BA back to winning
The 2013 football season was an uncharacteristically bad one for Bulloch Academy. The Gators stumbled to their first losing season in over a decade and missed out on the state playoffs. Bulloch did a quick 180 this past fall, riding the momentum of new coach Terence Hennessy and a rejuvenated running game to a 7-win season and a return to the playoffs.
SHS soccer rises up
For a squad that could field an entire starting lineup with seniors, the Statesboro High boys knew that it was now or never in the spring of 2014. The Blue Devils started strong and never slowed down, blazing a 15-3 trail en route to a region championship.
The fun didn’t stop there as Statesboro made a run all the way to the state quarterfinals — matching its farthest postseason run ever — and nearly upset eventual state runners-up Southeast Whitfield.
Super senior class
The end of the 2013-14 school year also saw the end of the most successful senior class in Portal basketball history.
Stacey Morgan and Robert Lee were both inserted into the Panthers’ lineup as freshmen and immediately became keys to Portal’s success. By the time their four-year run was up, the duo had chalked up nearly 100 victories, had secured three Region 3-A championships and had led Portal to the 2012-13 Final Four.
Lady Gators rule the state
The rafters at Bulloch Academy boast state championships in just about every sport that is played at the prep level. Heading into 2014, one of the few sports that Bulloch had never conquered was girls basketball.
Luckily, the Gators were able to find some more room for a new banner.
The Lady Gators ran roughshod over GISA Class AAA, compiling a 33-1 mark capped by a 46-29 dismantling of Stratford Academy to earn their first state title.
Bulloch nearly ran the table in 2014 as a loss Dec. 27 was their first setback of the calendar year. But a late December loss was the only blemish on last season’s team, so the Gators will gladly be cheering for history to repeat itself.