It’s the final home game for Bulloch Academy and an old rival visits Gator Alley to try and play spoiler for any of BA’s post-season dreams.
The Trinity Christian School Crusaders from Dublin are 0-8 overall and 0-5 in GISA Region 1-AAA play but they still could throw a monkey wrench into Bulloch’s playoff plans.
“If we win, we will definitely clinch a playoff spot,” said BA head coach Ronnie Hodges. “If we lose, we could possibly end up in a three-way tie. Last year, they upset us (21-14 in Dublin) to knock us out of the playoffs then they got upset by Pinewood to put us back into the playoffs. Tonight, they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
Trinity’s main offensive weapon is senior running back Patrick Evans.
“He killed us last year,” said Hodges. “He had 208 all-purpose yards. He is one of the fastest backs, bar none, that we will have faced this season.”
The Crusaders run from a two-tight end, I-formation set.
“They love to run the isolations and blasts,” said Hodges. “When Evans runs the sweep, if there is a hole jammed up, he will cut back against the grain and dance away from you. He has speed and agility. We have to make sure we keep him under wraps.”
Linemen Elijah Baggett and Michael Wheeless run interference for Evans.
“They have been getting better every week,” Hodges said of the TCS offensive line. “They haven’t been able to score a lot of points though.”
Opponents have scored 347 points on the Crusaders while the Dublin squad has managed just 90. Still, Hodges is wary of the arch-rival.
“We have not practiced like we are playing a winless team,” he said. “We’ve gotten down to business. There has not been a letdown after our big emotional win against Bethesda.”
Bulloch is on a roll headed into the Senior Night matchup. The Gators won their third straight in heart-stopping fashion last week. The boys from Bulloch outpointed Bethesda 39-38 in a wild and wooley contest that wasn’t decided until the final tenth of a second.
“That win was one of the best we’ve had since I have been at Bulloch,” said Hodges. “The kids never gave up. They refused to lose. They grew up a lot in that game.”
Senior Jaylen Evans had two kickoff returns for touchdowns, caught a 62-yard pass for another score and had an 11-yard run for another. Evans had 313 all-purpose yards on the night. Senior fullback Chris Young had 107 yards on 14 carries and junior quarterback Loy Waters had 86 and a touchdown on eight totes.
The Gators rallied time and time again on both offense and defense. After Bethesda scored with :01 left in the contest, it was Waters who knocked away a two-point conversion pass to preserve the win.
Hodges credits his coaching staff and the fan support with helping his team through the season.
“Our fan support has been great,” he said. “At times last Friday night, I could not hear through the headset. They have been our 12th man. Our young coaches have done a great job motivating the kids and keeping them fired up.”
In fact, one of them, offensive line and defensive end coach Evan Woodard will have a vested interest on both sides of the field tonight.
“His father (Buddy) is the head coach of Trinity and his brother (Andy) is an assistant,” said Hodges. “I told him when he interviewed that the only way we would hire him was if he gave us all the information on Trinity.”