STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) – Bulloch Academy’s players know they occasionally get passed over by fans in Bulloch County in favor of their GHSA neighbors: Statesboro and Southeast Bulloch.
However, the Gators know that plenty of good football gets played in the GISA as well.
“I really wish coaches would start looking at GISA schools,” said running back and Florida State commit Rodney Hill. “Public schools look at us like ‘oh they’re just little rich kids over there playing football,’ like we don’t play big competition. But there’s actually some hidden gems out here if you actually come and watch and see.”
Hill should know better than anyone; he signed an offer letter to Florida State in April and is regarded as one of the Coastal Empire’s top senior players. He led the team in both rushing yards and receiving yards during a 7-3 campaign in 2020.
However, talent alone does not explain either Hill’s or this team’s success. A lot of it is owed to work ethic, which Hill exhibits through his daily 5 a.m. trips to the gym with his best friend, fellow senior Malone Cason.
“When you go by yourself, you can focus on you,” Cason said. “Everything’s from a team standpoint, but you can just focus on yourself and do your weight and your mentality and others will follow.”
“That is my best friend, basically,” Hill said of Cason. “We just come up here and we work out together and we get it in. We just talk about college and life and stuff we want to do. It’s not really that hard.”
This year’s Gator team has more than 40 players suiting up: a healthy benchmark for a school that usually contains roughly 600 kids.
Bulloch Academy will get back-to-back shots at GHSA schools to open the season before playing GISA opponents the rest of the way. The Gators will travel to Savannah Country Day on Friday, Aug. 20 before returning home the next week to take on Calvary Day.
The Gators’ toughest game is their home date with John Milledge, an undefeated state champion in 2020 that outscored opponents 477-27.