Bulloch Academy (3-1) at Brentwood (3-0-1)
7:30 p.m., 850 AM
Traditionally, high-school football coaches like to schedule a weaker opponent for homecoming.
But the Bulloch Academy Gators plan to spoil the party tonight in Sandersville.
“We are very evenly matched,” BA head coach Ronnie Hodges said of the Brentwood Eagles. “They are a cross between Trinity Christian School and Robert Toombs. Their line resembles Trinity Christian’s while their backfield is more like Robert Toombs’. I don’t believe that they have the speed of Robert Toombs but they will finesse you with the Wing-T offense.”
The Eagles (3-0-1) run the Wing-T offense which utilizes misdirection and motion in the backfield.
“Some teams attempt it and try to run it,” said Hodges. “But the Eagles know how to run it. Coach Bert Brown is one of the two Wing-T gurus in GISA football.”
Senior wingbacks Nick Pullen (6-1, 170 pounds) and Eric Smith (5-11, 155) get the call in the Brentwood backfield. Senior offensive tackle Tory Mimbs (5-11, 200) will lead the way.
“They will already have a step on you if you don’t stay home,” said Hodges. “We will have to play assignment football.”
Brentwood is ranked third in the Class AA ranks and seems to have the squad to back it up. They’ve beaten three quality teams in their division. Two weeks ago, they battled Class AAA Pinewood Christian Academy to a 15-15 tie in Bellville.
“We knew this was going to be a very competitive matchup,” said Hodges. “They have a lot of players returning from last year’s team.”
A well-coached 50-series defense also awaits the Gators, who are ranked fifth in Class AAA.
“Mimbs is a stud at linebacker,” said Hodges. “Pullen also does a good job on defense.”
The Gators (3-1) had an epic battle last Friday night with old rival Trinity Christian School but eventually pulled out an emotional 14-9 victory. A last-minute defensive stand deep in Gator territory secured the victory for Bulloch.
Sophomore Andrew Howell led the charge with 12 individual tackles and five assists. Other game-leaders included sophomore Hunter Perry (seven, three), senior Matt Sheppard (seven, three), junior Lee Waters (six, five) and junior Dylan Stuckey (five, five).
While the BA ground game was squashed by the Crusaders, the Gator passing attack picked up the slack. Junior quarterback Will Rushing was 6-of-11 for 135 yards and one touchdown.
“I think a lot of the inability of our running game had to do with our guys up front,” said Hodges. “We had missed blocking assignments on the line and on the perimeter. Many of the snaps, although playable, threw our timing off. We worked on these things every day this week. Hopefully, our passing game is going to continue to get better.”
Special teams play, turnovers and penalties are going to be a factor in tonight’s contest as well.
“Last week, J.P. (Padilla) had a 61-yard punt that got us out of a jam in the second quarter and change the whole complexity of the half,” said Hodges. “We still had seven penalties, three lost fumbles and an interception but we overcame those mistakes. We will have to limit penalties and turnovers in order to beat this very good Brentwood team.”