Bulloch Academy (1-0) at David Emanuel (0-1)
7:30 p.m., Thursday
Working hard in a non-airconditioned weight room over the summer helped Bulloch Academy’s players excel in their 48-6 destruction of First Presbyterian of Hinesville last week.
As the Highlanders went down with heat exhaustion and experienced severe cramps, the physical conditioning of the Gators kept them focused and disciplined throughout the game.
Bulloch’s players will need that discipline tonight when they face an old foe with an even older and ‘magical’ offense. The Gators take their first road trip of the season tonight, making the short jaunt to Stillmore to face David Emanuel Academy.
After a two-year hiatus, the Gators and the Eagles renew an old, cross-county rivalry, meeting for the 34th time in the history of the two programs. David Emanuel, under second-year head coach and former Screven County star Ty Mingle, will be seeking its first victory of the season when the Gators come to call.
DEA runs the highly-deceptive Wing-T offense and that makes Bulloch Academy head coach Terence Hennessy a little wary of the Eagle running game.
“They run an old-school Wing-T with two backs and one wingback,” said Hennessy. “It’s an offense that utilizes a lot of misdirection. It can be difficult and confusing to defend. We’ve had trouble this week in practice because people keep trying to follow the ball instead of staying home and following their keys.”
On defense, the Eagles will run a 4-4 with linebackers ‘stacked’ behind the down linemen.
“Teams that run this have a tendency to blitz their linebackers a lot,” said Hennessy. “This can confuse our offensive linemen. Once again, we have to follow our rules.”
Even though the Eagles took a 39-0 beating from Georgia Christian School in Valdosta, Hennessy knows that the most improvement in a team comes between the first and second weeks of the season. He also knows that, for the Gators to come away with a win, they will have to play disciplined football on both sides of the ball.
“Even though they have only 16 or 17 players,” he said, “we look for a tough challenge.”
Bulloch looked pretty sharp last week against First Presbyterian, rolling up 290 yards of total offense with a no-huddle, flexbone look that depended heavily on the conditioning of the Gators.
“We want to snap the ball no more than 15 seconds after the end of the previous play,” said Hennessy. “Normally, with a huddle, it would take between 25 to 30 seconds. We can use this to our advantage in two ways. If we have the advantage in numbers, snapping the ball quickly will wear down a team that can’t substitute. If we are playing a team that is better than we are, it will stop them from substituting and keep them from shifting their defense.”
Senior fullback Dylan Stuckey led a grinding ground attack. He rushed for 79 yards on 13 carries.
“Dylan is the prototypical option fullback,” said Hennessy. “He is big, strong and should get us three yards whether we block anybody or not.”
Junior Lanier Olliff had 53 yards rushing and two touchdowns, senior Andrew Howell had 40 yards and one TD, junior Joshua Bohannon added 40 yards and senior Will Rushing added 38 yards and three scores.
The Gator defense allowed the Highlanders just 86 total yards, picked off three passes and recovered two fumbles.
“We’re still experimenting with people on defense,” said Hennessy. “I know we will get more of a challenge this week.”