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Injury bug bites BA
093011 BA FOOTBALL 03
Bulloch Academy defenders Loy Waters, right, Bailey Smith, bottom, and Harrison Averitt team up to make a stop on Southland running back McLain Cummins in the third quarter Friday. The Gators have worked extra time with several key injuries to the lineup. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

    The Bulloch Academy bandwagon is beginning to fill up — partly because of another Gator win last week, but also because many of its players aren’t up for walking on their own at the moment.
    The Gators evened their Region 1-AAA record with their 21-16 win over Southland Academy last week, but also paid a price as another handful of players went down with injuries that will keep them out of action for a while.
    “Right now, health and depth are major concerns,” said BA coach Ronnie Hodges prior to Monday’s practice. “We’ve got three, maybe four surgeries scheduled for our players, and that’s just this week.”
    Zach Sapp and Davis Duggan are both going under the knife for knee injuries while Jarrett Humphries is scheduled to have a torn labrum repaired. Connor Reed also suffered a knee injury and Hodges was still awaiting word on what route Reed will take to recovery.
    The injuries are a lot to bear, but Bulloch has no intentions of packing up shop.
    With many Gators being pressed into duty on both sides of the ball, Bulloch stopped a furious Southland second half rally and overcame a pair of late turnovers to hang on for the win.
    “We grew up a good bit last week,” said Hodges. “That was our only choice if we wanted to go a win.
    “We had some unfortunate turnovers and the way thing worked out, we only had about seven offensive plays the entire second half. It would have been easy to give in, but we kept playing hard and got a big stand at the end to win.”
    After consecutive region losses the two weeks before, Friday’s win was a big one. By evening their region record at 2-2, the Gators still have a good chance at clinching their fourth straight trip to the state playoffs.
    Last season, Bulloch was in the same situation at this point in the season. The Gators’ 2010 over Southland keyed a three game region winning streak, but a late loss had them depending on some outside help to get into the playoff field.
    Regardless of its health, Bulloch is determined to keep its destiny in its own hands this season and is already thinking about the endgame with nearly half of the regular season still to play.
    “It’s not something I keep from our players. In fact, I’ve already addressed them,” said Hodges. “We’ve got four games left, and the plan is to win all of them. Up to this point, I think things have gone according to plan. We’ve dropped a couple of games and the injuries are unfortunate, but this is still a team that can win, and I think that’s what we’re all expecting to do.”

    Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.