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BA faces No. 1 in the state

#1 Deerfield-Windsor (5-1) at #4 Bulloch Acad. (5-0)
7:30 p.m., 850 AM
Gator Alley

    The letters ‘ETW’ are emblazoned on the right shirt sleeve of every Bulloch Academy football player’s team t-shirt.
    The acronym is printed on the annual Senior football poster. It is on banners which hang in the field house, the weight room and the school’s high-school hallway.
    ETW — Expect To Win.
    “ETW is our slogan this season,” said BA head football coach Ronnie Hodges as his Gators prepare to host top-ranked Deerfield-Windsor School. “It is for the teams like Deerfield, Westfield and Stratford who are the long-time, Triple A powers. We’re not supposed to win these games but we have to change our mental attitude about that. Last year, we weren’t mentally prepared for these teams and it showed on the field. We have to think, to believe and to expect that anytime we step out on that field with them, we can win.”
    The fourth-ranked Gators sport a 5-0 record and will receive their stiffest test of the season as they begin Region 1-AAA play tonight with the 5-1 Knights.
    “Deerfield is very balanced,” said Hodges. “Their passing attack really compliments their running game.”
Khron McClain leads the DWS offense with 897 yards and nine touchdowns on just 73 carries. Quarterback Dallas Margeson is 37-for-61 for 520 yards and eight scores.
    “McClain’s fast and is a power runner,” said Hodges. “He hits the hole quicker than anyone we’ve seen so far this season. He also has a good offensive line in front of him.”
    The Gator defense has limited opponents to 16.6 points per game and will have to really play their best to slow down the Knights. Defensive end Jarret Humphries leads Bulloch with 34 individual tackles and 25 assists while defensive tackle Andrew Howell has 30 solos and 25 assists as well. Other defensive leaders are linebacker Zach Sapp (27,26), linebacker Loy Waters (19, 16) and cornerback Harrison Averitt (17, 8).
    In last year’s 27-6 loss to DWS, BA was held to just 194 yards of total offense (123 rushing and 71 passing). That kind of performance won’t fly this year if the Gators want to come away with an upset.
    “We noticed that teams which have some speed have done really well against them,” said Hodges. “I am hoping our speed will be a factor.”
    Tailback Harrison Averitt leads the BA offense with 725 yards and five scores on 50 carries. Quarterback Loy Waters is 11-for 24 for 308 yards and five scores. Receiver Bailey Smith has four catches for 120 yards.
    Deerfield’s 60 players spread out along the visitor sidelines will be intimidating in enough by itself but Hodges believes in his Gators.
    “They have a full roster but you can only play 11 at a time,” he said. “They are not invincible. I’ve seen our seniors taking charge in practice this week, buying into the mental game and leading with authority.  ETW.”