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SHS opens season today
Blue Devils look to new year
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    For the Statesboro boys soccer team, the 2006 season didn’t end the way they ever wanted it to. With plenty of confidence and expectations, the Blue Devils were shocked in the first round of the state tournament by Thomas County Central in a thrilling overtime loss.
    Have the Devils been stewing all offseason about that unexpected ending?
    “To be honest, our region has changed so much since last year, that we haven’t talked a whole lot about last year,” said SHS head coach Chad Prosser. “This year is a different dynamic of a team, as well as the new competition in the region.”
    Statesboro will have to face new region opponents in the Academy of Richmond County (AAA’s state champion in 2005) and Glynn Academy (finished in the Top Ten of AAAAA in 2006) this season, as well as always-strong Greenbrier and Evans.
    The Blue Devils lost nine seniors from the 2006 squad and will not be as deep as last year’s team, according to Prosser.
    “One thing I have been pleased with (in preseason practice) has been our effort,” said Prosser. “It’s been better than it has been in the last few years that I’ve been here. But we’re filling a lot of positions and it’s going to take the first couple weeks of the season to figure that out.”
    Statesboro will base out of a 4-4-2, but adapt based on the competition and personnel. Since depth and overall skill level will be an issue, the Devils will have to rely on effort to create attacking opportunities, creating a fast-paced game.
    Goalkeeper Jake Lanier and Georgia Southern signee Thomas Eisenhart are two of eight seniors who will take the pitch for Statesboro this season. Prosser is looking at Eisenhart as his primary scorer, while expecting top play from Josh Rich, Jack Kimes, Ben Ellgass and Lindsey Martin.
    Statesboro begins non-region play tonight against Richmond Hill, one of just three teams to beat Statesboro in 2006.

    Chad Bishop can be reached at (912)-489-9408.