Bulloch Academy begins the quest to win its first region championship in six years tonight when they host GISA Region 2-AAA rival Edmund Burke Academy at Gator Alley.
The Gators (6-1, 0-0) face a deceptive Waynesboro team which, according to BA head coach Terence Hennessy, is tougher than its record indicates.
“With the exception of one game, they have played phenomenal defense,’ he said of the 1-6 Spartans. “They lost 21-0 to Pinewood last week but the game wasn’t decided until late in the fourth quarter on a defensive touchdown. They held John Milledge’s running back to under 65 yards two weeks ago. No one has held him to under 100 for a year and a half.”
Seniors Ellis Sherrod and Tyler Jenkins lead the EBA defense.
“Sherrod (5-11, 220 pounds) is their best defensive player,” said Hennessy. “He stuffed us last year. Jenkins (6-1, 198) plays nose guard and will have to be double-teamed most of the night. They run a base 4-4 alignment which looks more like a 50 with a dropped defensive end. They are gonna be tough.”
Bulloch’s big-play offense was hampered last week by a scrappy Brentwood bunch and a rainy night in Sandersville. The Gators tallied just 274 yards of total offense in the 18-12 victory. Senior tailback Jarves Williams went over 100 for the game but 66 came when he broke loose on a sweep late in the third quarter. But two of BA’s other offensive weapons have been lost.
Senior fullback Joshua Bohannon suffered a dislocated elbow early in the second quarter against Brentwood and is out for the season. Senior Tyler Budgett sprained his ankle Tuesday at practice and was on crutches at school.
“We are beat up,” said Hennessy. “Our best case scenario is that we will dress 25 players.”
On offense, EBA runs a run-oriented Wishbone and a pass-happy, four-receiver Shotgun spread.
“Their quarterback (senior Hank Nunnally) is their best athlete,” said Hennessy. “He doesn’t play defense and can beat you with his legs or his arm. Myers Clark (6-2, 260) is a very good offensive lineman. Tyson Post is their best running back and Will Dixon is their best receiver.”
According to Hennessy, the number one priority for his defense is to contain Nunnally.
Senior linebacker Tyce Lovett is the leader of the Gator head hunters. He has 45 individual tackles and 30 assists. Other top tacklers include sophomore linebacker Brandon Merrill (37, 28), senior defensive end Hunter Perry (33, 30), sophomore defensive tackle Trevor Mason (25, 10) and junior linebacker David Childs (19, 13).
According to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association website, EBA holds a 12-11 lead in the overall series but BA has won the last four, including last year’s 21-0 shutout.
In order for the Gators to make it five in a row, Bulloch must control the football, grinding out yardage, taking time off the clock and scoring points.
“That tends to take both the morale and fight out of your opponents,” said Hennessy.