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Statesboro begins season at Greenbrier
SHS Football

The Statesboro Blue Devil football team finally get a chance to put the 2017 season behind them and start the 2018 campaign with a clean slate, as they open the season Friday night at Greenbrier. 

Head coach Jeff Kaiser came into his first year with high expectations, but aware of the Blue Devils recent struggles. Despite being competitive in quite a few games, the Blue Devils ended the season with a record of 2-7 and missed the playoffs for the fourth straight season.

Friday night the Blue Devils finally get to start anew, and players and coaches are optimistic that a year under coach Kaiser’s system, and over a year in his weight program have them better prepared for the 2018 season.

“We are definetly stronger than we were at this time last year,” Kaiser said. “The kids have put in a lot of work in the off season, and we are moving in a positive direction.”

Even though Friday is the first game of the season, the Blue Devils enter the game with a little momentum, as they knocked off Swainsboro 14-0 in a scrimmage two weeks ago.

“We had a lot of positives in the Swainsboro scrimmage,” Kaiser said. “Our varsity shut out Swainsboro 7-0 and had some good moments, and out JV was able to score a touchdown, and didn’t allow the Tigers into the end zone.”

“We accomplished what we wanted to in the scrimmage,” Kaiser said. “We looked sloppy at times, but our offense was patient, and we didn’t hurt ourselves with turnovers against a good Swainsboro defense. Defensively we played well enough to keep them out of the end zone, and was able to create a key turnover late in the contest.”

This Friday the Blue Devils head up to Evans for a meeting with the Greenbrier Wolfpack. Greenbrier is coming off a 6-4 season in which they won their first five games of the year, but lost four of their last five and missed the state playoffs.

“They will be a very well coached team,” Kaiser said. “Offensively they run a spread, like most of the teams we will see this year. On defense they are based out of a 4-2-5 and attack the ball well.”

Offensively Statesboro will be replacing their entire backfield, and lose their top reciever. The battle for quarterback has been between senior Sage Reese, and junior Drake Horton, neither of whom has started a varsity game. The running back spot has been by committee but Kaiser has set his backfield for Friday.

“We will be starting Drake Horton at quarterback, ”Kaiser said. “Our starting running backs will be Davardrion Lipsey and Jaylen Roberson. All three are juniors, and we have confidence in their abilities.”

“We have to be able to continue doing what we are doing on offense,” Kaiser said. “We have to be patient. Our kids are ready to hit someone else and are ready to play and are very excited about Friday.”

It’s difficult to put too much concern on the first game of the season, particularly with it being a non region game, but Kaiser knows the importance of winning the season opener.

“This is an important game,” Kaiser said. “I didn’t realize just how important it is until after the Swainsboro game. Our kids were so excited to come out on top against a good team, and we know how important confidence is in our team.”

Statesboro and Greenbrier tee things up Friday at 7:30 in Evans.