After a rough 2009, many teams from around the area are off to a great start in the 2010 season.
With new coaches and new players raising many questions as the season begins, it was hard to get a good idea of what to expect during the season’s opening week. There is still a long way to go, but the results were almost unanimously positive.
At first glance, the Blue Devils might not have been favored in their opener against Brunswick.
Not only are the Pirates defending back-to-back Region 2-AAAA titles, but Brunswick had won both titles at Statesboro’s expense and had already posted a 20-7 victory over Coffee County to begin its year.
Armed with dual-threat quarterback Chris Anderson and an array of athletes at running back and receiver, the Pirates had a faster and more experienced group that Statesboro could send out to defend it.
Brunswick may have had the edge on paper, but Statesboro schemed the Pirates perfectly and came up with enough big plays to get a 21-12 win.
Instead of attacking the offense, the Devils sat back and forced Anderson to throw into maximum coverage for much of the night. Brunswick was able to drive on several occasions, but the Statesboro defense came up big with three interceptions and a fourth down stop inside its own territory.
Offensively, the Devils did what they always do – impose their will.
Opponents know that Statesboro wants to power run, but that doesn’t mean they can stop it. That was the case for Brunswick as the Devils got 100-plus yard performances from Dequan Daniels and Michael Summers and never had to attempt a pass.
Old habits die hard.
Southeast Bulloch didn’t try to hide from its 19-game losing streak and made it clear that ending it as soon as possible was priority number one.
That didn’t take long as the Yellow Jackets ruined the Portal home opener, snatching up a 37-12 victory and moving its record above .500 for the first time since the 2008 opener.
Friday night may have been more than just a win for SEB. For a program that had seemingly hit rock bottom over the past two seasons, this may signal a new beginning to the strong tradition of Yellow Jacket football.
Not only did the points pile up on the scoreboard, but everything about SEB screamed that this is a team that is ready to compete again. There is a fresh bounce in the steps of the players, a wealth of support from Jacket supporters and the unmistakable impressions that SEB believes in itself once again.
The only Gators that had a bad opening week may have been the cheerleaders.
Doing a pushup for each point scored, the football team wore out its biggest sideline supporters by racking up 59 points in rolling over David Emanuel Academy.
Bulloch’s flexbone running attack was on top of its game from the start as the Gators racked up three scoring drives of just one play and scored on plays of 30 or more yards on seven of their nine touchdowns.
Two of Thursday night’s stars were newcomers Lestonz Lewis and Morris Prince. The pair split time as the B-back in the flexbone scheme and both showed flashes of brilliance, using speed and power to rip off big runs.
With the move up to the AAA classification of GISA this season, the Gators are in for a tough test, but opponents trying to stop Bulloch’s relentless offense could have an even bigger chore on their hands.
The Panthers may have been outnumbered in the season opener, but they way they moved the ball down the field on the opening drive showed that, even only having played one game under Cherard Freeman and his triple-option offense, things are heading in the right direction.
SEB had the numbers advantage, but the playing field levels this week against Metter.
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.