Heading into the season, first-year Bulloch Academy coach Terrance Hennessy made it clear that one of his players would do a lot of the heavy lifting while new starters and younger players adjusted to new schemes and varsity competition.
Senior running back Dylan Stuckey was challenged and has responded loudly, rushing for 281 yards and four touchdowns as the Gators are off to a 3-1 start.
“It was a lot of pressure,” Stuckey said. “But it was a challenge I was ready for and wanted. We have a great tradition here of seniors stepping up and leading. It’s my turn to do that, so I’m giving it my best effort.”
Stuckey also credited other seniors like Will Rushing (seven touchdowns this season) as a big reason why Bulloch seems to have made a quick about face from last season’s disappointing 3-7 mark.
“When we lost to Robert Toombs (two weeks ago), everyone was a little scared,” Stuckey said. “We lost to them last year and that started our slide. The next Monday, we made it clear that wasn’t going to happen again.”
Stuckey and the Gators can put an exclamation point on their turnaround season Friday as they host defending Class AA champion Memorial Day at Gator Alley.
Kickoff between the two teams, which haven't faced each other since 2009, takes place at 7:30 p.m.
Despite heading into this season with plenty of returning starters, the Lady Panthers of Portal are still a very young squad.
The pitcher’s mound features some of the youngest Panthers, but sophomore Keri Carter hasn’t seemed to mind as she’s found success against upperclassmen and underclassmen alike.
Carter was on to of her game Tuesday, striking out seven and allowing just one unearned run as Portal breezed past Claxton 13-1 in four innings.
“I had a lot of good defense behind me,” Carter said. “That makes is a lot easier to just make my pitches. It also helps that our offense got us a big lead. It’s easy to stay calm and focused when we do that.”
Not content to simply rely on her own pitching dominance, Carter helped out her own cause by slapping a two-run single to help the Panthers offensive onslaught against the Claxton Tigers.
As the season enters the home stretch, Carter and company are optimistic about what they can accomplish.
“I don’t think our record shows what we can do,” Carter said. “We can’t worry about wins that we might have let get away, but we can fix things and win the games in front of us. That’s our goal for the end of the season.”