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My Take: Midway point of football season, and it's been a roller coaster
092013 SHS FOOTBALL 04
Statesboro quarterback Colin Chances helps running back Akarri Williams celebrate Williams' second quarter touchdown run against Burke County in this Friday, Sept. 20, file photo. The Blue Devils have added a dangerous passing game along with their traditional power running attack on the way to a 6-0 start. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/file

It seems like just yesterday that players were strapping on the pads for summer camp, but the prep football season is already at the halfway marker.
    With all four Bulloch County teams playing in different regions, all face different scenarios for the final month of the regular season. Some teams have played enough region games to have a clear picture of where things might be headed while the postseason future of others is still entirely up in the air.
    There is still plenty of football to be played, but it’s also midterm season in the classroom.
    With that in mind, here is how the grades are shaking out for county schools so far.

Portal (1-3-1)
    The Portal Panthers entered the season trying to shake off the sting of a 1-9 campaign in 2012. It was obvious from the first snap that this year’s Portal team was much improved, but a brutal run of opponents to start the season have prevented more notches from going into the win column.
    Last season’s Panthers were long on youth and desperately short on experience. Portal had to throw plenty of newcomers into immediate starting roles and a lack of depth — combined with a nasty injury bug — saw some players learning a new position each week. That was some hard medicine to take, but those same Panthers have shown up this season with much more experience and a lot of pride to play for.
    The defense has been very solid for most of the season, with only the high-powered attack of ECI doing large amounts of damage. Over the last two weeks, the Panther offense has also come to life.
    The is still room for improvement, but if both units continue to click, the second half of the season should go much smoother.

Bulloch (3-2)
    The Gators of Bulloch Academy aced their first few tests of the semester, but injuries and severe depth concerns have their grade dropping in a hurry.
    Bulloch Academy started the season behind the 8-ball as four projected starters were out with injuries before the first play of 2013.
    Will Rushing has done a solid job in taking the reins of the Gator offense, but that attack has sputtered following a pair of great performances to begin the season. The Bulloch defense has taken a similar path, pitching a pair of shutouts to begin the season, but surrendering 47 points to Brentwood in their last game.   
    The good news is that Bulloch gets a fresh start this week as it opens up region play. The bad news is that the competition only gets tougher from here.

Southeast Bulloch (4-0-1)
    There’s only one reason that the Yellow Jackets of Southeast Bulloch don’t grade higher, and that would be obvious to anyone who has seen them in action. This team expects to win every week and expects to perform better with each passing game. In the Jackets’ mind, the grade can always get better.
    SEB has set itself up for success with two early wins in Region 1-AAA play, highlighted by a 30-14 win over Savannah last week. With a few more region wins, the Jackets can finally make their return to the state playoffs.
    The Jackets have passed with flying colors so far, but honors level courses like Pierce County and Appling County are coming up fast.

Statesboro (6-0, No. 5 Class AAAA)
    The Blue Devils have an unblemished GPA with more than half of their regular season already in the books. Statesboro has even shown improvement, avenging a 2012 loss to Burke County with a victory this time around.
    Statesboro has also added some extra curricular activities — in the form of a potent passing attack — to its resume to make it more appealing for postseason success. With improved line play and a swarming defense, the Devils seem to have all the necessary ingredients to finish at the top of their class.
    But there are still some big steps to take. Those six wins were all elective courses, with the core class load of sub-region play beginning this week at Liberty County – a fellow top-10 team.
    Plenty of time remains for all four Bulloch schools to improve their grades. And unlike graduation, none of these teams are ready for an early end to the season.

    Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9408.