The long season, and four year state playoff drought for the Statesboro Blue Devil football team could end with a single victory this Friday night.
The 2-6 Blue Devils host the 2-7 South Effingham Rebels in the exact same situation they were in last year. A win for Statesboro ends their four year playoff drought, and a win for the Rebels - in their last game of the season - gives them a spot in the state playoffs.
“South Effingham comes in here knowing this will be their last regular season game,” said Statesboro coach Jeff Kaiser. “We know they will be fired up and chomping at the bit, so we know we have to have our ducks in a row and be ready to play.”
“It is definitely a concern that we have lost six in a row,” Kaiser said. “It’s only human nature - especially in teenagers - to question yourself, and question your belief in yourself. We are trying our best to get them mentally and physically prepared.”
Statesboro has shown some signs of improvement on the offensive side of the ball, in particular with running back Jaylin Roberson averaging over 100 yards per game during the run. The Blue Devil defense has struggled though in three of their last four games, giving up an average of 35 points per contest.
“”We’ve worked on some things over the past two weeks that we have struggled with,” Kaiser said. “We have worked on building some depth at certain positions."
On the other side of the field the Rebels have struggled on both sides of the ball. With the exception of their 2 wins against Long County, and Tattnall County South Effingham has scored a total of 57 points for an average of less than 10 points per game. On defense they have given up an average of over 37 points per contest in their seven losses.
“They are very multiple on offense, and have a great quarterback who can run and pass,” Kaiser said. “They’ve had a lot of injuries on offense that has hurt their production. Defensively they are bigger than us. We have to hang on to the ball and try and eat some clock, and put some long scoring drives together.”
The Blue Devils have had an advantage in preparing for the Rebels as they had their bye week last week during fall break, so they’ve had two weeks to get ready for South Effingham.
“The bye week came at a good time for us,” Kaiser said. “We brought the kids in during the morning, and then they had the rest of the day off. We still got in some conditioning, but it was good to get the practices in the morning when it was cool, and then those with jobs also had time to work.”
Statesboro and South Effingham will get things underway Friday at 7:30 at Womack Field.