Last Spring when Bulloch Academy head coach Terence Hennessy was announced as the new head football coach at Bulloch Academy, he told his players that one of his goals for the squad was to make the GISA Class AAA state playoffs.
That goal will be reached tonight when the Gators host Deerfield-Windsor.
Bulloch (7-4) finished second in Region 2-AAA last Friday night with a 27-14 loss to Pinewood Christian. The Gators earned the right to host a first-round battle with the third-seeded team from Region 3-AAA, which is the Knights.
Deerfield-Windsor (7-3) is a traditional state contender behind the tutelage of legendary head coach Allen Lowe.
“He is one of the best coaches in the GISA,” said Hennessy. “He is an offensive genius. Of the 140 offensive plays that we have seen on video, Deerfield has not run the same formation more than 14 times. The Knights are sound in everything that they do.”
Lowe’s son Tyler heads the potent multiple-formation offense that is 60/40 run-pass.
“Chris Boswell is their biggest offensive weapon,” said Hennessy. “Steven Williams is also pretty good. Both are fast and they are not afraid to run over people. They split Boswell out when they want to throw. Lowe is an above average passer and runs the option well.”
To stop the Knights, Hennessy plans to shake things up a bit on defense.
“We will blitz our linebackers early and often,” he said. “We want to create confusion in the backfield which will hopefully result in our guys making tackles.”
BA linebackers Dylan Stuckey and Joshua Bohannon have led the Gator defense all season and will get a lot of action Friday night. Stuckey, a senior, has 57 individual tackles, 30 assists, two sacks, two fumble recoveries and one caused fumble.
Bohannon, a junior, has 55 solo stops, 40 assists, one sack, two recovered fumbles and one caused fumble. Other top defenders include senior safety Lee Waters (39, 19), sophomore linebacker Tyce Lovett (28, 16) and senior linebacker Will Rushing (28, 8).
On defense, the Knights are led by linebacker John Samuel Shenker and defensive end Dakarai Cutts.
“As a squad, Deerfield is very physical and not afraid to hit,” said Hennessy. “Our plan is to keep running our option. It’s sort of an equalizer because we don’t have to block two defenders; we just read them and decide what to do. We also hope to smash them with our wishbone.”
The BA offensive foursome of seniors Stuckey, Rushing, Andrew Howell and junior Lanier Olliff have accounted for 37 touchdowns this season. Halfback Howell leads the ground game with 902 yards on 113 carries.
The fullback Stuckey has 120 carries for 728 yards while halfback Rushing has 89 totes for 569 and quarterback Olliff has 538 yards on 83 carries.
He also has completed 40 passes for 564 yards and seven TDs.
Bulloch and Deerfield-Windsor have a common opponent this season, the Westfield Hornets from Perry. On Sept. 12, DWS beat the Hornets 35-25. On Sept. 26, the Hornets destroyed the Gators 55-14.
“You play to win the game,” said Hennessy. “We feel like we have a good offensive plan. We are going to do everything in our power to come out on top.”