When Matt Sheppard started his varsity football career at Bulloch Academy, he was a stocky linebacker.
As time wore on, Sheppard assumed a role as a fullback in the Gators’ flexbone offense. Now a speedy senior, Sheppard continues to be a big part of the Bulloch attack while also patrolling the secondary.
“Matt is the kind of kid you want on your team,” BA coach Ronnie Hodges said. “He goes above and beyond what is asked of him in the weight room and on the field.”
After running track for the Gators, Sheppard gained a considerable amount of speed, allowing him to move into a role as a cornerback. Hodges wanted to use Sheppard sparingly on defense as his fullback duties are physically demanding, but early injuries have forced the senior to go both ways in each of the Gators’ first two games.
Undeterred, Sheppard has continued to grind out yards for his offense. Defensively, Sheppard put the finishing touches on a 34-0 victory over Bethesda Day last week as he intercepted a pass and returned it 90 yards for a touchdown.
“Matt is such a big part of this team,” Hodges said. “That (interception return) just shows the kind of impact he can make on a game, wherever he’s lined up.”
Two weeks before the 2013 softball season began, Southeast Bulloch got some bad news. Sierra Peebles — who had been the ace of the pitching staff for two seasons — was transferred out of the school district for her junior season.
Having no other pitchers with varsity experience on the squad, the Lady Yellow Jackets have turned to a group of freshmen and Blair Chapman has quickly shown that she can handle the pressure.
“Honestly, I had no clue that I’d be pitching so much this season,” Chapman said. “I won’t lie. I was pretty nervous. It’s still a little nerve-wracking, but I’m getting more and more comfortable every game.”
Chapman’s season hit a high point Tuesday afternoon. She didn’t allow a hit in a 19-0 blowout of Johnson of Savannah. Chapman also helped her own cause at the plate, going 3-for-3 and knocking in four runs.
“It’s been the same (as facing hitters) with getting used to the pitching in high school,” Chapman said. “It keeps getting a little more comfortable. I know that there are a lot of us younger girls playing this season. I’m excited that we are getting a lot of playing time and I think that we’ll keep getting better by coming up together as a group.”