A pair of cross county rivals hit the field tonight for a scrimmage as Southeast Bulloch and Statesboro are set to square off at 7 p.m. at Womack Field tonight.
The teams will participate in a controlled scrimmage that will cover all facets of the game while giving the coaching staffs a chance to see as much of their rosters as possible.
“In reality, this is just another chance to get in a good practice,” said SEB coach Pat Collins. “I know that we’re two schools within the same county, but this isn’t the Super Bowl. We’ll both have the same record before and after the night is over, so we’re just looking for a chance to gain experience in a game situation.”
Statesboro coach Steve Pennington agrees, noting that while the last two weeks have been full of tough practices, there is no substitute for squaring off against another team to get prepared for the season.
“We’re looking for guys that are driven by competition,” said Pennington. “No matter what we’ve learned in practice, some guys get a little nervous when those lights come on. That’s just another part of the game that we need to practice and prepare for.”
Despite their proximity, Thee Blue Devils and Yellow Jackets come into the 2012 season with varying recent histories. Statesboro has made the state playoffs in each of the last 13 seasons and ended last year in the Top-10 of Class AAAA. Southeast Bulloch has endured six consecutive losing seasons and is trying to turn the corner while making the move up to Class AAA.
Regardless of recent successes or shortcomings, both squads are looking forward to the challenge of executing against another team.
“I realize that we might not be the bigger or faster team when we line up against Statesboro,” said Collins. “But we aren’t looking to just run around and have an easy time. We want to identify our strengths and weaknesses and the best way to do that is to play against a very sound football team like the one Statesboro has.”
Tonight’s scrimmage will be broken down into six periods of eight minutes each. During the first period, each team’s varsity players will compete. The teams will both get four minutes of offense, beginning at their own 35 yard line. If there is a turnover or a touchdown, the ball will be replaced at the 35. At the end of each offense’s four minutes, there will be a punt.
The same format will take place during the second period, but drives will begin from the opponent’s 25 yard line to allow for red zone and goal line offenses to be practiced.
The junior varsity squads for each team will play the third period under the same rules as the first period. From there, the teams will go through the cycle again to complete the scrimmage.
“(Tonight) is all about getting to see our players in live action,” said Pennington. “We want to see as many guys as possible out there so we can evaluate where we’re at. From there, we’ll get back to work and try to be ready for when the games start to count.”
After tonight’s scrimmage, Statesboro and SEB have two more weeks to get everything in order for the regular season. Both teams begin play on Aug. 31, with the Devils travelling to Lakeside, Evans and the Jackets making the short trip to Portal.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.