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BA hosts Peanut Boil, scrimmage

    Football, food and fun were on the docket Thursday evening at Gator Alley as Bulloch Academy hosted its annual Peanut Boil.
    For Gator fans, the festivities marked a chance to take in some good food while getting an introduction to the 2011 football team.
    Bulloch hosted Curtis Baptist (Augusta) in a controlled scrimmage that allowed both squads to get some action against something other than a scout team.
    “We’re always excited to scrimmage,” said Bulloch coach Ronnie Hodges. “After a full summer of workouts and the first few days in camp with pads, you get tired of hitting teammates. This is a good chance to get out there and prove what we can do with a different team on the field.”
    While there were no recorded stats to speak of — the two teams took turns running 15 plays at a time with no first downs or touchdowns recognized — there was still a lot for the Gators’ coaching staff to take away from the night.
    “This is a lot better than practice because it’s much better competition,” said Hodges. “When you go up against your own scout team, there’s not as much urgency and you have your talent on both sides of the ball. Lining up against another team gives us the best opportunity to get good film and to learn.”
    There might not have been a scoreboard or first down marker to show it, but Bulloch had reason to be happy with its new offense.
    With Clint Morgan departing in the spring, Hodges is installing an I-formation attack that will replace Morgan’s flexbone offense. There is still plenty of room for the Gators to improve, but they did show some bright spots as both Matt Sheppard and Zach Sapp found room outside for big runs, Jaylen Evans caught a pair of passes, and junior quarterback Loy Waters looked comfortable as he steps into the shoes of the departed Brandon Walker.
    “I’ve been pleasantly surprised with our speed,” said Hodges. “We’ve got a little more than I thought. We just have to keep working on the offense to get everything coming together.”
    Defensively, Bulloch had its highs and lows, allowing one long pass by Curtis Baptist and missing some tackles on inside runs, but also forcing four turnovers on three fumble recoveries and an interception by Sheppard.
    “It’s hard to get a good idea right now,” said Hodges. “There are a few guys that we know will be out there in the regular season who are dinged up right now. A couple of those plays were a little disappointing, but we’ll get it together.”
    The Gators will continue fall camp tomorrow, quickly return to the field for another scrimmage as they host St. Andrews Tuesday.
    Bulloch begins the regular season August 25 with a road date against David Emanuel Academy.

    Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.