Bulloch Academy is moving on up.
Fresh off of last season’s run to the quarterfinals of the Georgia Independent School Association playoffs, the Gators are moving up to the AAA classification of GISA for the 2010 season.
The move to the highest level of GISA means that Bulloch is in for a more demanding schedule than in recent years, but the Gators are up to the challenge.
“We’re making that jump up to triple-A, and we’re sure it’s going to be a tough task,” said BA coach Clint Morgan. “I think we’re up to the challenge though. Any time you raise the bar, these kids have stepped up to the challenge. We’ve been underdogs for years now, so we’re used to it, and we’ll be ready to compete.”
Benefitting the Gators in their new classification is a roster that has grown significantly from last year’s squad.
The current BA roster features over 40 players, which should provide much more depth than last year, when the roster was nearly half that and a flu outbreak forced the Gators to compete with only 18 players in one game. Now, with many AAA schools featuring bigger rosters, the Gators will be able to even the playing field.
“Hopefully we won’t have to have as many guys play both ways,” said Morgan. “We’ve had to do that in the past, and that makes it tough against some of the bigger teams. Moving up is no excuse though. We’ll be ready to play every week.”
The Gators will again look to their potent triple option offense to provide plenty of points this season.
Ellis Lane, who led BA in rushing last season, returns for his senior season and will provide a constant big-play threat to opposing defenses.
Also looking for rushing opportunities this season will be newcomers Lestonz Lewis and Morris Prince. All three running backs posse a good combination of power and speed that could make the triple option attack extremely explosive.
Of course, the option depends on the quarterback, where Brandon Walker returns for a third year under center.
Walker was instrumental in the Gators’ success last season, and one more year of experience in the system gives a big boost to the offense as the 2010 campaign begins.
“You can’t imagine how important it is to have a quarterback who can make the right reads,” said Morgan. “Brandon is a super kid and a super athlete. We have faith in him to make changes at the line and make the right call. Together with the running backs, it really makes a four-headed monster.”
Even though this week is the beginning of full-pad practices, the Gators already have lined up against another team to see how they shape up.
“We scrimmaged against Thomas Jefferson [Tuesday] and felt very good about what we saw,” said Morgan. “We have a few more scrimmages, and I think we’ll see more of the same. We just want to see some people and evaluate them in some different positions before the season starts.”
Bulloch Academy jumps right back into action tonight as it welcomes Memorial Day School -- a former region rival at the AA level -- to Gator Alley tonight for the annual Peanut Bowl.
Only 21 days remain until the Gators open the 2010 regular season with a home matchup against David Emanuel Academy.
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.