Three keys to Statesboro's victory over Bradwell Institute...
Statesboro took a lot of the pressure off by getting out to an early lead. The Devils struck first late in the first quarter and never trailed in the game. The Devil defense performed well against the Bradwell option attack and only grew stronger as the Tigers started to press.
Playing against the Tigers’ option, the Devils’ defensive front was the key to success. Statesboro’s front four consistently stayed on their assignments and didn’t allow Bradwell to bust any runs for long gains.
In a game without a ton of offense, the Blue Devils were able to dominate thanks to their special teams. In addition to his 29-yard field goal, Ryan Miller punted effectively on all seven of his attempts, driving the ball deep into Bradwell territory to give the SHS defense plenty of field to work with.
From the first snap of the season, Juhwan Osborne has been Statesboro’s primary receiving target. Osborne turned in another stellar performance Friday, catching four balls for 75 yards and diving to reel in a 33-yard pass to set up the Devils’ first score of the night.
SHS 3 7 7 0 — 17
BI 0 0 0 0 — 0
SHS_Miller 29 field goal, 2:16
SHS_Williams 4 run (Miller kick), 8:07
SHS_Williams 33 run (Miller kick), 0:05
First Downs 8 6
Total Yards 179 124
Rushes-Yards 36-99 31-44
Passing 80 80
Comp-Att-Int 5-11-0 4-13-0
Turnovers 2 3
Penalties-Yards 5-40 5-30
RUSHING_SHS, Williams 11-76. BI, Echols 18-39
PASSING_SHS, Kleinlein 5-11-0-80. BI, Williams 4-13-0-80
RECEIVING_SHS, Osborne 4-75. BI, McCoy 1-33
HINESVILLE - The Statesboro Blue Devils made it two consecutive wins Friday night as they invaded Hinesville and picked up a 17-0 win over Bradwell Institute.
With the win, the Devils have claimed two straight after five consecutive losses to open the season.
More importantly, Statesboro improved to 2-3 in Region 3-AAAAA play and remains alive in the hunt for the state playoffs.
Sophomore quarterback Austin Kleinlein had a career night and Juwahn Osborne continued his impressive season catching the football. The duo combined for 75 yards through the air, and Kleinlein completed one other pass to bring his total to 80 for the night.
"It was a boost to our offense to be able to click like that early on," SHS coach Steve Pennington said. "As the game wore on, I thought that ability to throw opened up some more things for us."
While a quick start spurred the Devils on to their first victory last week, they had to overcome a spot of adversity against the Tigers (0-7, 0-5).
Jaylon Davis fumbled on the Devils' opening drive, but the SHS defense held strong against the Tigers' option attack.
Statesboro made good on its second chance of the night. A 33-yard pitch and catch from Kleinlein to Osborne drove the Devils deep into Bradwell territory. The drive stalled, but Ryan Miller was dead on from 29 yards out for a 3-0 lead.
After forcing a three-and-out on the Tigers' next drive, the Devils went right back to work. Statesboro marched 49 yards in 10 plays and Mahlon Williams (11 carries, 76 yards) capped off the drive, powering in from four yards out to make it a 10-0 game that lasted into halftime.
Both sides seemed to come out of the locker room a bit flat as the Tigers fumbled, but the Devils couldn't capitalize and move into Bradwell territory.
The Tigers botched an option pitch, and Reggie Hunter recovered his second fumble in as many games to give SHS an opportunity that it was able to cash in on.
On the final play from scrimmage before the fourth quarter, Williams ran off the right side of the Devils' line. Williams bounced outside to open spaces and outran the Tiger defenders to the end zone for a 33-yard strike and a 17-0 advantage.
"We're still looking for consistency on offense," Pennington said. "But tonight, we started to see some more production and got some big plays when we needed them."
From there, the Statesboro defense cleaned up the rest.
The Devils refused to let up, covering Bradwell's option plays to near perfection while limiting big plays from the passing game. In all, the Tigers never advanced into the SHS red zone and crossed the Devils' 40-yard line just twice.
"Defensively, we took away the fullback and didn't let them get to the perimeter," Pennington said. "When you do that against an option team, it's going to make things difficult for them."
Statesboro will have a tall order on its hands if it wants to extend its winning streak, as top-ranked Ware County comes to town next week.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9408.