The first two games of the regular season for Statesboro High School was similar to an episode of “Whose Line is it Anyway?” The points didn’t matter. At least that’s the perspective head coach Steve Pennington views it.
The Blue Devils faced non-region opponents Burke County to start the season, and most recently, Wayne County to start the year. SHS lost 20-7 and 20-6 respectively.
However, Coach Pennington knows the importance of the region schedule. Starting Friday, the Blue Devils will face eight straight region opponents.
“One of the circumstances is playing two and losing two, in a good sense, the emotional feeling is we’re starting the ‘new season,’ and when you start region you’re starting a new season,” Pennington said.
The time is now for Statesboro High School as the team plays in its first home game and region game of the season at Womack Field against a very hot South Effingham team.
The Mustangs are currently undefeated, coming off a 17-14 win over rivals Effingham County last week.
“We had opportunities to watch them play and they’re playing with great confidence. They’ve had two or three real good years and are coming off a competitive year last year,” Pennington said when asked about the matchup against South Effingham. “Their senior bunch started as sophomores and they have done nothing but progress these last two years. You can see the development and they play with confidence.”
Pennington said one of the biggest challenges his team will face against the Mustangs will be matching South Effingham’s confidence.
“We’re at that point now where we’ve got to match it and find our own confidence,” Pennington said “We need to develop that kind of attitude and expect things to happen.”
The Blue Devils are coming off a bye week after a loss to Wayne County. SHS has worked on developing a pre-snap motion offense to give the running game, as well as the passing game, a more advantageous look in terms of matchups.
Running back Tupac Lanier had a bigger role in the Blue Devils’ offense last week. Pennington used Lanier’s speed to bounce the ball to the outside around a large Wayne County defensive front.
Lanier rushed for 33 yards on nine carries against Wayne
“The open weeks, hopefully, will serve a good purpose,” Pennington said. “At this juncture in the season, we have a number of injuries and we’re working diligently to heal and get ready.
“We’re working hard at trying to strengthen our depth.”
The Blue Devils defense, despite giving up 40 points in two games, played solid against Burke County and Wayne.
Pennington said his defense needs to continue to play solid, fundamental football in order to win against an undefeated South Effingham team.
“We gave up a lot of yardage, but we continued to fight and we kept them out of the end zone five times in the redzone (versus Burke County). Against Wayne, we made progress getting off the field on a number of three-and-outs,” Pennington said.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Womack Field.
Horace Holloman may be reached at (912) 489-9408.