Wayne County (2-1) at Statesboro (1-2)
The Statesboro football team is coming off a bye week and are eager to get back on the field. The last time the Blue Devils played they lost a tough 24-19 decision to Effingham County in a game in which they committed three turnovers with two of those leading directly to Effingham scores.
The Blue Devils defense has allowed only five touchdowns in their three games with three of those coming after Statesboro turnovers. Head coach Matt Dobson said they addressed this problem during their off week and is confident the Blue Devils will hold onto the ball this week.
“We have stressed that the number one thing in our plan to win is to win the turnover margin,” Dobson said. “Going back to our scrimmage game, when we have done that, we have won the game. We make this game a little more complicated than it has to be at times. We have told the kids if we hold onto the ball, we feel like our defense is good enough to hold people. We went through some ball security circuits and feel like the guys will respond this week.”
The Blue Devils are currently 1-2 and will welcome 2-1 Wayne County to Womack Field this week for what will be the Blue Devils first home contest of the 2023 season. Former Georgia Southern quarterback Jaybo Shaw is in his second year with the Yellow Jackets after leading them to an impressive 10-3 record in his first year, which included a 28-7 win over the Blue Devils in Jesup.
Wayne County is led by 6-0, 215-pound senior running back Matthew Fuller who is averaging nearly 200 yards per game and has already committed to the University of South Carolina. On defense the Jackets are led by 6-1, 200-pound linebacker Tavion Wallace who is a 4-star recruit with offers from the likes of Auburn and Florida.
“Coach Shaw has a talented football team,” Dobson said. “Their defense really stands out especially up front and they are really good at stopping the run and getting pressure on the quarterback. On offense everything goes through Fuller. He is very special and at any time he can take one all the way for a score. He has already had at least five touchdown runs of over 50-yards this year and we are going to have to do our best to try and hold him in check.”
This will be the first time Dobson and Shaw have squared off as coaches. While they didn’t play together at Georgia Southern, Shaw did help recruit Dobson hosting him on his official visit as Dobson came to the Eagles as a quarterback.
“Jaybo is an excellent football coach and it will be fun to go up against him Friday,” Dobson said. “He is also a great guy and someone I have sought out advice from as a coach through the years. He has been really helpful to me especially with this being my first job as a head coach.”
Statesboro and Wayne County kick off at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Womack Field.
Southeast Bulloch (2-1) at Tattnall County (1-2)
Southeast Bulloch head coach Jared Zito said before the season he felt this could be a special year if he could just get his team to understand how good they could be. Friday night the Jackets lived up to their coach’s expectations with an impressive 20-13 win over Class 6-A Effingham County.
“I feel like our kids really played their guts out Friday,” Zito said. “We played great defensively again, and I felt like we had a few more explosive plays on offense. The good thing is from an execution standpoint I really still feel like we have some ways to go. We had one turnover on the opening play of the game, but we were perfect after that. We forced a couple of turnovers and I just felt we had total control for a while, and then lost control. It would have been easy to just fold up, but we fought back and made a big stop and then got two first downs to end the game.”
Zito has preached to his team to rise to the challenge of beating a bigger opponent and now feels the team has a little more confidence going into the rest of the season.
“We still have some awfully tough teams left on our schedule but I think this win lets those teams know they better be ready for a fight,” Zito said. “Our players now feel like they can step into that ring and battle with anyone for four quarters as we now have a little more confidence.”