While area public schools still have a couple weeks before beginning postseason play the Bulloch Academy Gators get things underway Friday night in Albany as they travel to Deerfield Windsor.
The Gators go in with a little momentum having gone down to the wire against heated rival Pinewood in Bellville, before a field goal as time expired gave then a 45-42 victory.
“Friday night was a big win for us,” said Bulloch Academy head coach Terence Hennessy, “It really has us going into the playoffs with the right mindset and now we just have to get ready to play another Friday night.”
For this one the Gators will head down to Albany to take on 6-4 Deerfield Windsor, and while the Gators and Knights haven’t played since 2014 they do have some common opponents such as Trinity Sharpsburg who they both beat, Westfield who the Knights beat handedly and the Gators lost to, and Pinewood, the Gators latest win and a team that beat Deerfield Windsor 22-14.
“Their Pinewood loss is a little deceptive,” said Hennessy, “Deerfield’s starting quarterback was out and he is a big difference maker for them.”
On paper two 6-4 teams with similar success against common opponents looks like an even match-up but Hennessy feels the Knights have had more success in the postseason and that is tough to quantify.
“On paper it may seem like an even game, but these games aren’t played on paper,” said Hennessy, “We have to overcome the fact that we are playing a Deerfield Windsor team that has had a lot of success against Bulloch Academy in the past, and has had a lot of success in the postseason as well.”
In fact the Knights advanced to the GISA AAA final four last year before being knocked out by Gatewood 17-13, and in 2015 they went all the way to the GISA AAA state championship game before falling to Valwood 28-26. The last time they played the Gators was a 31-7 win over BA in the opening round of the playoffs, in route to a state semifinal run.
“When you make deep runs in the playoffs like they have you add almost another season to your kids playing time,” said Hennessy, “That’s what they have had the past few seasons, but hopefully this year we can start our own run.”
The Gators also have to overcome their own postseason struggles, as while Bulloch Academy has made it to the state playoffs 10 out of the last 11 years, the last time they won a state playoff game was 2009 under then head coach Clint Morgan.
“Friday night when we got down 14-0 our seniors told the rest of the team that we were still in it and we had to battle back,” said Hennessy, “I think that shows that our seniors aren’t done yet and they want to keep playing football.
Bulloch Academy and Deerfield Windsor are scheduled to get things underway Friday night at 7:30 in Albany.