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Statesboro travels to Brunswick

    The Blue Devils are still searching for their first win of the season after a tough 35-21 loss to South Effingham.
    Today, the Blue Devils have a chance at redemption as they take on Brunswick in a region matchup.
    The Pirates (1-3) are riding a three game losing streak, but still come equipped with a potent passing offense.
    SHS head coach Steve Pennington said it would take a complete team effort to improve to a 1-1 region record.
    “(Brunswick) have some great linebackers that can play sideline to sideline and they have a 6-foot-4 safety and another one that’s 6-foot-1. It’s imperative that we play well across the board offensively and we need each person to do their job,” Pennington said before a Thursday afternoon practice.
    The trip from Statesboro High School to Glynn Stadium in Brunswick is just under two hours, plenty of time for the Blue Devils to mentally prepare for the task ahead.
    As the Pirates and Blue Devils get ready to square off, here’s a couple of key factors to watch in today’s game.

    What to watch: Takeaways for Statesboro vs. Turnovers
    Statesboro’s defense has played well in the past few games despite giving up yards and points, however, one aspect from the defense is still missing—takeaways.
    Pennington said he would like to see his team take the ball away more, and against the Pirates they will have their shot.
    The Pirates are a passing team, putting the Blue Devils’ secondary to the test.
    “They are a scrappy group and they have to fight and claw for everything,” Pennington said. “I think one of the biggest descriptions of our defense is we have learned to compete and we continue to fight. We still give up some points, but we’re making people earn those points.
“They put it in the air a lot, and we have every right to get it and take it away.”
    Offensively, the Blue Devils will have to limit turnovers. In just three games, Statesboro’s offense turned the ball over eight times.
    Pennington said his team needs to do a better job of taking care of the football in order to secure a win.

    Who to watch: Devils' offensive line
    Sophomore starting quarterback Davis Wiggins played a solid game against the Mustangs of South Effingham due in large part to the blocking up front.
    Coach Pennington said the game against South Effingham was the best the offensive line has played in over a year.
    But the true test for the o-line will be can the unit overcome the injuries. Since the start of the season, three offensive linemen have gone down with injuries.
    Junior offensive lineman Nick Richardson, tight end Qw’lix Hawkins and offensive guard Will Tankersley are recovering from injuries. Senior Brannen McBride is also battling an ankle injury and is not 100 percent, according to Pennington.
    “Our offensive line coaches have done a great job this week of rotating players and coming up with blocking schemes and combinations. We’re eager to see how that’s going to work,” Pennington said.

    Key factor: Run game
    Last week the Blue Devils’ offense outgained their opponents on the ground by 104 yards. The run game will certainly be important against the Pirates as the Blue Devils travel on the road for the second time this season and play away from Womack Field for the third time this year.
    With the injuries on the offensive line, Pennington said the team has been working on a few different packages, including a “heavy” and “light” package.
    Expect a heavy dose of the run game against the Pirates, but don’t be surprised to see coach Pennington give his sophomore quarterback the green light on a few deep passes.

    Horace Holloman may be reached at (912) 489-9408.