The Blue Devils’ 7-6 win over Brunswick last week answered many looming questions the team had to answer. Yes, the team’s banged up front line could get the job done in their blocking assignments. Yes, Statesboro’s defense could hold their own and slow down a potent offense.
Against Coffee County, however, SHS will have to answer questions from the naysayers once again. The Blue Devils (1-3, 1-1 region) take on a dominant Coffee County (4-1, 2-1 region) team at Womack Field today. The Trojans have had few setbacks on defense this year, shutting out three teams this season.
Defensively, Coffee County is giving up just 7.4 points per game.
However, the Blue Devils are riding high with confidence after getting their first win of the season and first region win of the year last week. A win against Coffee County would jolt the Blue Devils up in the region standings.
As the Blue Devils get set to face the Trojans, here are a few things to watch out for during the game.
What to watch
Coffee County versus Statesboro High School will be the classic battle of which front line can make the difference. SHS head coach Steve Pennington said Coffee’s defensive line is one of the most technically sound fronts the team will see all year. Unfortunately, the Blue Devils’ offensive line has suffered a rash of injuries in recent weeks, including injuries at the guard, tackle and tight end position.
“We’re making adjustments everyday. We have offensive lineman who are playing three different positions out of necessity,” Pennington said. “As we move forward, I hope our players are seeing that we’re doing everything we can in terms of packages and personnel and with schemes. We’re trying mightily to put our players in the best position we can so they can be successful.”
Against Coffee, Pennington said he expects to shift personnel on the offensive line, however, he wants to prevent overwhelming his players with too many formations.
Who to watch
Travis Wilkerson has been a playmaker on defense this year, and the Blue Devils will need him to step up against a tough Coffee County opponent. Wilkerson currently leads SHS in tackles, tackles for a loss and is tied with Jarodrick Strickland for most sacks on the team (2).
Wilkerson said he’s proud of the way the defense has played this year. After the win against Brunswick, the Blue Devils’ leading tackler said the defense has the confidence to go up against anyone.
“We know that we can really compete with teams. We have the confidence to know we can win and we have the talent to go out there and compete with other teams,” Wilkerson said.
Coach Pennington said he’d like to see his defense force some turnovers to help swing momentum in the Blue Devils’ favor.
Turnovers will play a big role in tonight’s game, and the Blue Devils need to limit turnovers in order to come out on top.
Statesboro overcame three turnovers against Brunswick, including two interceptions in the second half.
The Blue Devils will need to sustain drives and limit penalties as well.