Even though it wasn't supposed to be that way, the nine-team 7-on-7 scrimmage to be held at exclusively at Statesboro wound up being spread across two campuses in Bulloch County.
Due to heavy rains Monday, Statesboro's practice fields became too soggy for four teams to share in a 7-on-7 scrimmage setting. So Southeast Bulloch opened up their campus for Emanuel County Institute, Vidalia and Tattnall County to play while Long County, Bradwell Institute, Metter, Windsor Forest and Statesboro stayed back at Womack Field.
It's not often four area teams come together to compete in the passing league circuit — something that's become an annual event for high school teams across the country. Even teams like ECI and SEB who run single-wing and wishbone scheme offenses come out to put their quarterbacks and receivers chemistry to the test against other team's best back-seven defenders. All-in-all, there were a couple of things fans could take away from both campuses:
• Changes at SEB: Under Pat Collins, the Yellow Jackets seldom ran a single play out of the shotgun. However, with former Statesboro head coach Steve Pennington taking over as the interim HC for 2017 SEB will mix in some gun formation. Junior Blaize Minick manned the starting quarterback position Tuesday afternoon and as a first-year starter should hold the position going into fall camp.
• Statesboro Connect: No, not the magazine. The passing game has been seldom used during the near 20-year Buzz Busby-Steve Pennington era of Statesboro football, but it's clear under Jeff Kaiser the ball is going to be in the air. The senior duo of quarterback Davis Wiggins and wide receiver Wright Rockett consistently beat defenses deep for touchdowns Tuesday, so fans can expect more of the Wiggins-Rockett connection in the end zone come August.
• Replacing Shamel: Metter star running back Shamel Johnson has taken his talents to Tift County, leaving a big hole in the Tiger's offense. Junior Keondre Williams caught two touchdowns against Bradwell Institute on Tuesday, and he's one of the 32 upperclassmen on Metter's 53-man roster. Even without Johnson, Metter looks to be a good bounce-back candidate from their 2-8 season.
• Out of the air: Last season ECI had one of the most electrifying offenses in the state, let alone class 1A. But with no Rhett Gay and no David Durden, the passing game will certainly lose its prolific touch from 2016. All signs point to the Bulldogs leaning on their running backs Bobby Mcnear, Rejar Rock and Ja'rell Jordan to score their points rather than through the passing game.
• Knights on the rise?: After missing the playoffs by a game in 2016, Windsor Forest looks prime to make a run at the playoffs after an impressive showing at Tuesday's scrimmages. Calvary Day transfer quarterback Eric Phoenix put on a show throwing the ball, so Region 3-3A could see a new face in its playoff picture in 2017.