Barrett Davis knows Friday night will be weird.
All summer he’s had fluidity on the field with different players being out due to COVID-19, Bulloch County has mandated 50% capacity at GHSA events and his Southeast Bulloch football team has already claimed a region championship.
He’s looking forward to Friday night’s season opener against Screven County so he and his team can return to a sense of normalcy.
“I think they’re excited to step on the field and play the game they love,” Davis said. “With all of the uncertainty in the world, with COVID, they’ve learned how to deal with adversity.”
In the game against the Gamecocks, Davis is relying on his seniors to return to prominence in South Georgia. Lineman Trace Shuman, tight end Waylon Knight and safety Darius Lewis have all experienced the highs and lows of the SEB program.
From two 6-5 seasons to the 9-2 2017 season, these seniors are ready to take the next step and win a playoff game. The Yellow Jackets are also ready for a season filled with uncertainty and younger guys having to be ready.
“Those guys have a lot of experience and we’re expecting them to fill some leadership roles,” Davis said. “It’s a 180 everyday. Different kids are in and out. You just have to roll with the punches and accept that you’ll never be full strength.”
Davis understands that this season will be different than any other season. He has players who played spring sports that know what it's like to have a season stripped away.
So when the Yellow Jackets take the field Friday night, they’ll embrace the challenge that the team up the road presents.
“We told our kids to be ready for anything,” Davis said. “Some of our guys played spring sports and got their seasons cut short. They know what it's like and to not take anything for granted.”
A year ago, the Gamecocks won the game with a punishing run game that gave SEB very limited possessions on the way to a 26-23 defeat on the road.
This year, Davis will be looking to try a few new things when Screven comes to town.
“We’re going to coach everyone up as well as we can,” Davis said. “If there was ever a time for coaches to get creative, now is the perfect opportunity.”
Kickoff from Fred Shaver Field Friday night is set for 7:30 p.m.