Bethesda (1-1) at
Bulloch Academy (1-0)
7:30 p.m., 850 AM
Finding a way to slow down one of the fastest football teams in the GISA is the task which faces Bulloch Academy in the Gators’ home opener tonight against Bethesda.
The senior trio of Shidel Williams, Jonathan Deloach and David Grayson put the ‘Blaze’ in the word Blazers. All three have dazzling speed. Williams starts at tailback, Grayson is quarterback and Deloach lines up at a split end.
“Their skill people are probably the fastest in the GISA,” said BA head coach Ronnie Hodges. “Our biggest job will be controlling that speed. Offensively, they like to run outside of the tackles. We’ve gotta be able to throw a fence around them.”
According to Hodges’ scouting report, Williams is the fastest player in the league while the other two are almost as good.
“His ability to change directions is his greatest asset,” he said. “He must be contained. Deloach has good speed but his ability to catch the ball in traffic is excellent. He can just jump up and over his defender. Grayson scrambles well if rushed. He and Grayson switch places on certain plays.”
Other open-field running opportunities that the Gators will have to corral are kickoffs and punt returns.
Keys to victory for BA include containment of Bethesda’s skill players, controlled backside pursuit on defense and the ability to wrap up when tackling.
Bulloch opened its season last week with a 53-35 victory over St. Andrew’s School on Wilmington Island.
The Gators overpowered the Lions by halftime, taking a 31-6 halftime lead. By the break, the defense had limited the Lions to just 28 yards rushing and 22 yards passing.
Senior defensive end Jarret Humphries led Bulloch with seven individual tackles, two assists, one sack, one caused fumble and one pass breakup. Sophomore linebacker/defensive lineman Andrew Howell had six solo stops and four assists while both junior noseguard Hobby Mills (three, six) and sophomore tackle Dylan Stuckey (four) had fumble recoveries.
On offense, senior quarterback Loy Waters rushed for 128 yards and three scores while passing for another (13-yarder to senior Matthew Blitch). Senior tailback Harrison Averitt racked up 82 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown scamper. Howell added 71 second-half yards and a touchdown while senior Bailey Smith had 60. Junior fullback Zach Sapp had a 20-yard score and kicker J.P. Padilla nailed a 41-yard field goal as well.
But the BA defense showed a vulnerable side, giving up 254 yards through the air and four long, second-half touchdown passes. Big plays were also the name of the game last year when Bulloch nipped Bethesda in a 39-38 wild shootout.
“We can’t afford to have that kind of game this year,” said Hodges.