There’s no denying that this hasn’t been a typical season for Statesboro High football.
While a state title isn’t a main talking point, senior defensive lineman Brandon Maple is making sure that the tradition of winning football at Statesboro isn’t changing anytime soon.
Staring down an 0-5 record and a formidable Richmond Hill squad last week, Maple and the Devils made their stand. Statesboro forced three fumbles against Richmond Hill last Thursday and Maple fell on the first two.
“We had to have it,” Maple said. “We had to have this game. When the ball hit the ground, I had to have it. That’s the mentality we had. We knew we were going to have to fight to get that win.”
Maple and with his teammates were tired as Richmond Hill pulled to within a point of the Devils in the third quarter and twice drove into Statesboro territory in the final minutes of action.
Digging down deep, the Devils held their ground, forcing a third fumble and a turnover on downs to keep the Wildcats at bay.
“It feels amazing to know that we can be down and still play like this,” Maple said. “To lose five games and still be able to fight and play hard like this, it makes me proud of me and my teammates.”
When Tori Tindall first stepped on the volleyball court at Statesboro High, she was one of about a dozen Lady Blue Devils just trying to get a handle on a new sport.
In years to come, Tindall will be remembered by future Devils as one of the architects of the program.
As Tindall’s game has improved, so has Statesboro’s. The Devils snuck into the state playoffs in just their second year of existence and made a return trip in Tindall’s junior season.
“Looking back on where we started, it’s crazy,” Tindall said. “Those first few practices, coach Bob (Massee) was about the only one who knew what was going on. We’ve all worked hard and we’re so excited to see what we’ve been able to accomplish.”
Things seemed bleak for Tindall and her fellow seniors as Statesboro bumped up to Class AAAAA and was drawn into a brutal region, but the Devils persevered again. Entering their area tournament as the sixth seed, the Devils pulled a pair of upsets to return to the state playoffs once again.
“It was exhilarating,” Tindall said. “To know that you’re the underdog and to show everyone how bad you want it. It was amazing.”
Tindall and company will load up the bus for a long trip today as the Devils take on Columbus in the first round of the state playoffs at 5 p.m.