For years, Statesboro’s success on the football field has been closely tied to a powerful running game defense.
Both of those aspects are still patrolling the sidelines at Womack Field, but senior kicker George Hill has brought a spark to the Blue Devils’ special teams.
Hill has been contributing on Friday nights for the last three years, but is saving his best performances for his final season. Hill has connected on field goals of 48 and 49 yards in the last three weeks and has been all but perfect on extra point duty as Statesboro has powered to a 7-0 start and a No. 5 state ranking.
“I definitely think I’ve improved from last season,” Hill said. “I’ve put a lot of practice into doing well this season, but when I’m in the game, I try to relax and not think about anything.”
As effective as Hill has been at putting points on the board, he’s equally effective at making things tough on opposing offenses. Hill has improved his punting numbers over last season and has put over 80 of his kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks this season.
“I think a lot of people overlook how important the kicking game can be,” SHS coach Steve Pennington said. “Converting field goals is great, but it’s just as good to know that we’re pinning teams deep every time we have to kick the ball away.”
When Statesboro’s Chante Branch stepped onto the volleyball court three years ago, she was taking a huge leap of faith.
Statesboro High started up its volleyball program with plenty of high hopes, but a group of girls who had no real experience in competitive volleyball.
Branch was one of many to hang tough and in just a few years’ time, the Lady Devils are now a contender at the state level.
Powered in part by Branch’s offense, the Devils breezed through the opening round of the Class AAAA state tournament Wednesday, easily sweeping Cedartown.
“I think we all believed that we could get here someday,” Branch said. “It was tough at first, but we’re a strong group that has grown and learned together. For us seniors, it’s definitely great to be able to get to state and win.”
The effort of Branch and the rest of the Devils hasn’t gone unnoticed by SHS coach Bob Massee.
“I can’t say enough about how hard everyone has worked,” Massee said. “They’ve been sponges. They had to learn all the basics. From there, we’ve added more and more. These girls are totally committed and its showing in our success.”