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Blue Devils biding time until Region 3-AAAA tournament

    As soccer’s regular season winds down this week, the Statesboro boys are hoping that there is still plenty of action laying ahead of them.
    Due to a scheduling quirk, the Blue Devils (10-2) have known their place in the postseason for nearly three weeks.
    With only three other teams in their sub-region, the Devils played just six sub-region contests and their 5-1 record has earned them a top seed in next week’s Region 3-AAAA tournament.
    “We’re excited to be in this position,” SHS coach Nick Thrower said. “But we’re also trying to be professional about it. It was great to win the sub-region, but all we can do is take things one game at a time and focus on each game as it comes up.”
    For the last couple of weeks, Statesboro has done more sitting around than playing.
    The Devils scheduled additional non-region games to bridge the gap between sub-region play and the postseason. However, rain washed out a pair of games against Lakeside and Greenbrier last weekend.
    Tonight, the Devils will close out their regular season as they host Savannah Arts at Womack Field.
    Experience has played a huge role in Statesboro’s success this season. With 13 seniors on the roster, there is no lack of seasoned veterans at any position on the field.
    Last season, the Devils got off to a hot start with a mostly new lineup before hitting a month-long skid that damaged their state playoff seeding. This time around, everyone is up for the challenge.
    “There was a little bit of nervousness midway through the season,” Thrower said. “Some guys were kind of waiting to see if we’d keep playing well. Our coaches didn’t talk about last season much and our guys have just gone about their business and continued performing.”
    Even with their impressive record, the Devils still have a bit of work to do in order to make the state playoff field.
    Eight teams will enter next week’s region tournament and only the four winners of the first round of games will qualify for the Class AAAA tournament. The semifinal, final, and consolation games of the region tournament will determine seeding in the state playoffs.
    To earn their spot at state, the Devils will host Cross Creek — No. 4 seed out of the northern sub-region — next Tuesday.
    “We’re a confident team right now,” Thrower said. “We’ve got the confidence to know that even if we lose a game, we can bounce right back. Now it’s a little different. We still know we can succeed, but the games are about to get a lot bigger for us.”

    Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.