For years, being a wide receiver for Statesboro High has been a relatively thankless job. With each new season churning out more powerful offensive linemen and running backs, Blue Devil receivers have gotten used to blocking most of the time and have only looked forward to a few balls coming their way each season.
This year’s Blue Devils seem content on mixing things up and immediately proved it, putting the ball in the air 13 times in a season-opening 25-15 win over Lakeside last week.
In a tight game, it was a receiver who helped provide the winning margin.
Joe Corless hauled in four passes for 57 yards in the victory. Twice, Corless was the target on 3rd-and-long passes that converted first downs.
The first catch kept the Devils’ go-ahead drive alive while the second retained possession for SHS as it added some insurance points late in the game.
“I wasn’t quite expecting to see that much action,” Corless said. “I was just concentrating on doing my job. When I was supposed to block, that’s what I did. When the ball came to me, I was glad that I could make the play.”
When Statesboro High announced the start of a volleyball team in 2011, it was literally starting from scratch. Of the first group of girls to take the floor, none had any sort of experience in competitive volleyball.
Fast forward two years and the Lady Blue Devils are a fast-rising team looking to build on the success of an unexpected playoff run last season.
Helping to lead the way is senior setter Maggie Ray, who has been with the team since its inception.
“Things are a lot different this year,” Ray said. “We’re not just trying to learn anymore. We’re trying to win. The four of us seniors are doing our best to help others along and keep getting more competitive.”
Ray has been on top of her game so far this season. As the catalyst in the Devils’ offense, she is averaging eight assists per set by distributing accurate sets to Statesboro’s outside hitters.
“This year is all about moving forward and – for us seniors – making the most of our last year,” Ray said. “We proved what we could do last season. This year, the goal is definitely to go farther.”