Almost 500 yards rushing and 47 points — that’s what happened the last time that Ronnie Hodges and the Bulloch Academy Gators tangled with a team that ran the Wing-T offense.
“We played too vanilla against Brentwood,” Hodges said, recalling the 47-0 defeat in Sandersville on Sept. 27. “You only have to get one or two steps out of position and that’s all she wrote.”
Tonight, the Gators host one of the best Wing-T teams in the state and Hodges vows that the results won’t be the same.
“We worked on it (defending the Wing-T) all week long,” said the BA head man as he and his squad get ready for region foe Westfield Hornets. “It’s simply a matter of playing position football, not getting caught up in the misdirection, staying home and making the play. Plus, we are also going to try and mix up it up some on defense.”
Wing-T guru Ronnie Jones brings his powerful Hornets (6-1, 2-0) into Gator Alley against the injury-riddled Gators. The squad from Perry is in the driver’s seat in the hunt for the Region 1-AAA championship and the post-season seeding.
“They are an all-around good football team,” said Hodges. “They do well on both sides of the ball. That’s the reason they are ranked second in the state and are undefeated in the region.”
Monday and Tuesday were holidays for the BA students but Hodges had his charges on the field each morning by 10.
“We’ve had a good week of practice,” he said.
The Gators (3-4, 0-2) are still mathematically in the hunt for post-season play but, after back-to-back region losses, their chances are slowly dwindling. Injuries and tough opponents have taken its toll on Bulloch’s season. Westfield will be the fourth ‘Top 5’ school that the Gators faced in the past six weeks.
“Our kids have no quit in them,” said Hodges. “The injuries have been a problem but that’s no excuse. All season, we’ve moved people around to fill in the holes created by injuries. The kids have stepped up when they have had to. They have fought hard and played from the first to the last whistle. We, as coaches, couldn’t have asked for any better."
Tonight’s contest will be the final regular-season game. For seniors Will Bohlke, Davis Duggan, Conner Fordham, Daniel Hendrix, Eddie Howard, Hobby Mills, J.P. Padilla, Reed Salter, Zach Sapp and Matt Sheppard, it will be the last Friday night at Gator Alley. Senior cheerleaders Claire Branch, Sterling Burke, Caroline Burnette, Mary Lee Olliff, Kayla Parker, Ansley Sumner and Jessica Vickers will lead their final cheers as well.
An upset victory over the Hornets on Senior Night would be memorable and uplifting but, more importantly, it would put the Gators back in the thick of the playoff hunt.