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Gators kick off state playoffs at John Milledge

    Bulloch Academy is in a relatively simple situation tonight when they travel to Milledgeville for the opening round of the GISA Class AAA state playoffs.
    Win or the season is over.
    “I don’t think the guys are ready for the season to be over,” BA head coach Terence Hennessy said as his squad prepares to strap in on against John Milledge Academy. “I know I’m not ready for it to end. I want to be practicing during the Thanksgiving holidays. But the other coaches and I don’t play the game anymore. It’s up to the 25 young men in the helmets and shoulder pads on our sideline.”
    John Milledge Academy (9-1) finished second in Region 4-AAA. The Trojans destroyed nine of their 10 opponents, scoring an average of 35.9 points per game while only allowing 10.3 per contest.
    “They are big and there are many of them,” said Hennessy. “They play a lot of kids. This is the best team that we have played so far this season.”
    JMA utilizes both the power and finesse games on offense.
    “They will line up in the I-formation and run a lot of Power I plays,” he said. “Then they will spread the formation and throw the ball. They will also line up in a wildcat formation.”
    On defense, John Milledge runs the wide-tackle six. “It’s been difficult trying to prepare of it because it is such a different defensive scheme,” he said.
    The Trojans have made it to the state semifinals for the past three seasons and would like nothing better than a fourth consecutive try at a state title.
    Since moving up the ladder to Class AAA football in 2010, the Gators have not been able to make it past their first-round opponents. Hennessy thinks the squad has a shot to do so this year.
    “We will have to play flawlessly in order to have a chance to win,” he said. “No turnovers and no penalties. We are not going to be a one-dimensional football team this week. I feel that, in order to win this game, we will have to do a little bit more than that.”
    The Gators (8-3) showed a little of that last week, using two different quarterbacks to complete 14-of-24 passes for 208 yards and two scores.
    Bulloch played courageously against the powerful and undefeated Pinewood Patriots last Friday night and, if the ball would have taken a different bounce here or there, could have upset the Bellville squad.
    A similarly tough game awaits the Gators tonight against the Trojans and BA will definitely need the ball to bounce its way a few times in order to survive to play another day.