Bulloch Academy (3-2) at Deerfield-Windsor (4-2)
7:30 p.m., 850 AM
For Bulloch Academy, the push for the post-season begins tonight.
After a week off to recuperate, revamp and reload, the Gators travel to Albany to battle second-ranked Deerfield-Windsor in their first Region 1-AAA contest of the season. And, according to head coach Ronnie Hodges, Bulloch has a realistic shot of beating the perennial Class AAA powerhouse.
“If we expect to get whipped,” he said. “there isn’t any use in making the trip. In my opinion, Deerfield isn’t as dominant as they have been in years past. Don’t get me wrong, now. They are still very well coached, have talent, size and depth, but when you lose 18 of 22 starters to graduation, you just aren’t going to be as strong.”
On paper, the Knights (4-2) don’t seem as overpowering as they were last season. In six games, they have accumulated 993 yards on the ground, 316 through the air and have scored 117 points. But their opponents have tallied 784 rushing, 737 passing and 113 points.
“If we are ever gonna get them,” said Hodges, “it may be this year.”
DWS has a predominately rushing offense which utilizes multiple formations.
“Matthew Fox carries the load,” said Hodges. “He probably gets 70 percent of the touches.”
Fox has rushed for 456 yards on 68 carries and scored six TDS. Wingback Alec Miller has 109 yards on 20 carries. Through the air, quarterback Tripp Presley is 15-of-21 with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He had spread the love around but his favorite target seems to be Austin Fallaw, who had caught five balls for 100 yards and one score.
While Bulloch spent the past week preparing for tonight’s monumental challenge, the open week was a time of individual and team reflection.
“What we tried to do last week was work on ourselves,” said Hodges. “We didn’t have any punishment practices. We didn’t want to dwell on what happened before the off week (a 47-0 loss to Brentwood). We threw that away on the Monday after it happened.”
Hodges and his staff worked on ways to take the team’s strengths and weaknesses and mold them into a winning strategy.
“The Brentwood game exposed our weaknesses and we worked on those,” said Hodges. “We worked on each player’s attitude and focus. We made some changes on both sides of the ball. We are trying to fit our personnel to what works best us. The kids have responded well and are willing to help for the good of the team.”