Throughout the state, coaches are prepping their football teams for the 10-game grind that is the regular season.
At Bulloch Academy, everyone is willing to go the extra mile.
The Gators have the unique task of tackling an 11-game schedule — plus any state playoff games — this fall.
On top of the extra game, the Gators will start a week earlier than most schools with an Aug. 22 date against First Presbyterian Christian Academy. And the cherry on top of that already daunting task is that there are no by weeks throughout the entire season.
“We know exactly what we’re in for,” Bulloch coach Terence Hennessy said. “It’s a little extra work, but we’re going to be prepared for it.”
Everything about the Gators’ schedule is designed to bring out the best in the team. Fresh off of missing out on the state playoffs for the first time in a decade, Bulloch will try to bounce back by proving itself against the best.
“(BA athletic director) Chandler Dennard wanted to come up with a tough schedule for us to prove ourselves,” Hennessy said. “He did a great job. We have games against the defending state champions from all three classifications of GISA and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Regardless of the Gators’ confidence, there is still the matter of the short turnaround time from the first day of practice to opening night.
Several injuries have set Bulloch back in developing optimal lineups and game plans while soaring temperatures and the occasional thunderstorm have made time on the field and under helmets even more scarce.
The time frame to prepare is even more stressed considering that Hennessy is entering his first year as head coach of the Gators.
“Honestly, I didn’t look at a lot of Bulloch film,” Hennessy said of his preparation for the season. “We know where we want to go, so everyone has started off with a clean slate and is proving themselves. We’re going to figure out who can do what and how they can help us win.”
Bulloch’s traditional fall schedule has taken a drastic turn of course from recent years.
Whereas previous seasons saw the Gators hold weeks of drills before participating in plenty of scrimmages and jamborees, Bulloch’s only scheduled scrimmage this season was rained out.
“We’ll have to shake things up as the year goes on,” Hennessy said. “There will be game weeks where we have to give guys the day off just to keep everyone fresh. But we’re up to the challenge. We’ll get done what we need to get done and show up ready to compete each week.”
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.