Bulloch Academy graduated 12 seniors last year, leaving a few holes in the roster this season. One of the voids the Gators will try to fill this year will be up front, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.
Terence Hennessy, entering his second year as head coach of the Gators, said the first week of practice has been promising for his team. Despite the lack of depth at the line position, Hennessy said there are a few players that have caught his eye early.
“We’re still looking for lineman and that’s a dire need for us, but we scrimmaged yesterday with some people and I was encouraged,” Hennessy said. “We were able to move the ball on offense and stop them when we needed to on defense. I was really encouraged. It’s been a good week of practice for us.”
The Gators traveled to Robert Toombs Academy Tuesday and scrimmaged with Robert Toombs and Frederica Academy.
Hennessy said the scrimmage was a great way to look at the strengths and weaknesses of his team.
“Frederica played us tough last year and Robert Toombs beat us last year. We played them pretty well. We were concerned with both lines coming into the season, but we think we found a couple of guys who can come in and help us out,” Hennessy said.
The Gators are looking for two starters on the offensive side of the line as well as a backup guard and tackle.
“We’ve been in helmet and shoulder pads since last week and we’ve been banging on each other for so long. When you play against each other it’s hard to tell where you’re at,” Hennessy said.
Senior center Braxton Brinson said the younger players on the line have played well early. The Gators finished the season 7-5 last year, falling to Deerfield-Windsor in the playoffs.
“I think a lot of our younger guys have stepped up and filled those gaps that we need. We found some people that can step in and do what we need them to do. I think we’ll do good,” Brinson said.
Brinson said the team had a strong senior class last season and wants to continue the team’s strong tradition.
“I think since I’m one of the few seniors on our line that I have to step up and get in there and show the younger players a few things,” Brinson said. “I think we have a lot of experience, but there’s some gaps that need to be filled.”
What the Gators lack in depth on the offensive line, the team surely makes up in the skill positions. BA has several players to fill in at wide receiver and defensive backs. BA had 32 players on the pre-season roster, but off-season injuries to two players cut the number down to 30.
Senior tight end Hunter Perry is one of several players that bring versatility to the Gators’ lineup. Perry will play tight end this year along with a little defensive end. The 6-foot-3 tight end also lined up as an offensive tackle.
“I definitely feel we’re deep in the skill positions, but the offensive line is going to be a toss up,” Perry said. “Being a tight end we have to block and get off the line fast. It’s great to get out here. They’re throwing a lot at us these first few days, but I feel like we’re pretty good for where we’re at in the season.”
Horace Holloman may be reached at (912) 489-9408.