Big, strong and fast are the adjectives Bulloch Academy head football coach Clint Morgan uses when he talks about his squad’s next GISA Region 1-AAA opponent, the fourth-ranked Sherwood Christian Eagles.
“They are extremely dangerous,” said Morgan. “They have the ability to score anytime they touch the football from anywhere on the field. Sherwood has many weapons to choose from.”
Bulloch (4-2 overall and 2-2 in region play) travels to Albany today to battle the Eagles, who are coming off an open week, in the Gators’ fifth region game.
“For years, this (Week 7) has been when we start region play,” said Morgan. “I’m proud of the way our guys have been able to stay focused, stay driven and stay enthusiastic.”
Sherwood (3-2, 2-1) has some of the fastest players in Class AAA in tailback Phillip English and split end/wide receiver Mack Green.
“English runs hard and has great vision,” said Morgan. “Green is a super athlete as well as quarterback Terrence Burnette. Chris Rogers is a mammoth tight end (6-6, 240 pounds) and they have a big, strong offensive line. But the best thing about Sherwood is how well head coach Reggie Mitchell utilizes the talents of his players.”
According to Morgan, Sherwood’s offense is primarily centered about a Pro-I backfield. The Eagles run isolations and sweeps with a little bit of option mixed it. The run/pass ratio is 65 percent to 35 percent.
“They are a big-play offense,” said Morgan. “It could be the difference in the game. In high-school football, there aren’t many schools that can consistently drive 80 yards without making a mistake. Our defense has to take away the big-play threat and force them into trying to drive the football. We can’t give up the big play.”
Leading the charge for the Gator defense will be linebackers James Brack and Loy Waters. Brack heads the squad with 44 individual tackles and 32 assists. Waters is second with 34 solo stops and 32 assists. Other leaders are defensive tackle Caleb Bohannon (25, 26), safety Ellis Lane (23, 16) and defensive end Chris Young (20, 16). In last week’s 38-8 win over Southland, Brack and nose guard Blaine Lovett had 10 tackles each, cornerback Zach Sapp had nine and Young, Bohannon and defensive tackle Jonathan Lumpkin had eight each.
“The Sherwood backs are way too strong to arm tackle,” he said. “We are going to have to continue to play the aggressive, attacking style of defense we have in the past few weeks.”
On defense, the Eagles run multiple sets, from a four-man front to a six-man front.
“I don’t really know what to expect,” said Morgan.
Fullback Lestonz Lewis leads BA’s rushing attack with 857 yards and seven touchdowns on 92 carries. Wingback Ellis Lane has 392 yards and five scores on 54 carries while Brandon Walker has 312 and four TDs on 38 totes.
Last week, Lewis rushed for 148 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries. Lane had 95 and two scores on 10 carries and Walker had 79 and two TDs on five carries.
The kicking game could play a major role in tonight’s game and Bulloch has one of the best in the GISA in senior John Harden. Harden has over 10 touchbacks on kickoffs and has hit three of five field goals, two from 48 yards out.
“If the game comes down to the wire and is decided by the kicking game,” said Morgan. “I like our chances.”