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Pick your poison when you play BA
082610 BA FOOTBALL 04
Bulloch Academy running back Lestonz Lewis, right, makes David Emanuel Academy defender Chet Ellison whiff on a long touchdown run in the second quarter in this Thursday, August 26 file photo. Lewis, just one of BA's running backs racking up yards and points so far this season, rushed for 255 yards in the Gators' 24-14 win over Tiftarea Friday. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

    Midline, Money, Sweep, G, and Smack.
    There isn’t much to the Bulloch Academy running game, but don’t tell that to the trail of opponents left in its wake.
    Through three games, the Gators have already amassed 1,167 total rushing yards on 116 carries and have racked up 123 total points — 40.1 per game — during their 3-0 start to the new season.
    Even more impressive than the numbers that BA has put up is the relatively simple way in which they have done it.
    There are a few passes built into the playbook and a handful of formations and audibles, but the Gators have only five basic running plays that continue to keep defenses off balance and create huge running lanes for ball carriers.
    “We don’t have many plays, but that’s part of our game plan,” said BA coach Clint Morgan. “Our goal is just to execute each of those plays as well as possible. We still have some room for improvement, but right now I’m pretty pleased with what I’ve seen.”
    Aside from a solid offensive line that has quickly gelled despite some new additions this season, the driving force behind the potent Gator offense is the sheer number of playmakers that comprise Bulloch’s flexbone backfield.
    Quarterback Brandon Walker, slotbacks Ellis Lane and Morris Prince, and fullback Lestonz Lewis all have a touchdown run of at least 30 yards on their resume already, and having all four in position to touch the ball at any given time is creating nightmares for opposing defenses.
    “The biggest thing is how well they all work together,” said Morgan. “Everybody has their own niche that they bring to the table to make us better. Morris has a lot of power and is a great blocker. Brandon makes great decisions with the football, and Ellis and Lestonz are very shifty and tough to bring down.”
    While it looks simple, the reads, pre-snap decisions and precision that each play must be executed with can get complex. With Lewis and Prince new to the Gators’ system, it makes the fast start all the more impressive.
    “It’s always a work in progress, but I think that we’re all on the same page,” said Walker. “This is my third year under center and I feel pretty comfortable, but there’s always something new to learn. I think that as the year goes on, we definitely have a chance to get even better.”
    Perhaps the key to everything coming together for the Gators is each running back’s selflessness. Each of them have proven that they can carry the team, yet they are all willing to throw blocks and go through with all the little things in order to ensure success when their teammate gets the call.
    “They’re all happy that they have each other in the lineup,” said Morgan. “We’re not just counting on Ellis or Lestonz or whoever every week. We’re counting on whoever gets the opportunity. They’re all ready to make a play when they get the chance, but they also do their jobs when the ball goes somewhere else, and that’s just as important.”
    The Gators and their offense will get their biggest test to date Friday when they host Deerfield-Windsor – last year’s state runner-up in AAA – in a region showdown at Gator Alley.
    “We’re not going to change anything,” said Morgan. “It’s definitely a big challenge, but we’re going to keep on running the ball and do our best to win.”

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