Covid Roulette

By: JJ Lanier

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

There are a few things you can always count on with college football, SEC fans arguing that if the playoffs truly consisted of the best four teams, they would all come from that conference; Kirk Herbstreit’s attempt to objectively talk about Ohio State comes across more like Nuns On the Run Robert DeNiro than Taxi Driver De Niro; a large number of college coaches will be looking for employment by the end of the season.

Regardless of what this upcoming football season will look like, (a lot can change between now and the end of September) I feel pretty confident the first two will stay true to form, it’s the last one that could go either way.

Is it unrealistic to think that most college football coaches could receive their own version of a mulligan this year?

I realize on the surface it may not seem like a logical outcome, especially if you’re not a fan of the coach leading your team, but there was a bit of precedent set with college basketball in March.

During a time when you normally see a substantial amount of coaching changes, due to Covid and all the uncertainty surrounding it, those dismissals were few and far between.

I know it’s been five months since the basketball season came to an abrupt ending, but are things really that different now? Basically, the chaos and uncertainty we had earlier this year is the same thing we are currently dealing with.

If coaches feel as though they’re jobs are safe, it will be interesting to see if that mentality allows certain coaches to open up their playbooks and become a little more aggressive than normal; Ron Rivera is a perfect example.

I don’t remember the exact year- I think it was the season prior to the Panthers Super Bowl appearance- but Rivera’s tenure was all but over in Carolina, due in large part to his conservative play calling. With the pressure off, instead of taking the safe and conservative route, Rivera began opening up his playbook and taking the riskier option, leading to the media appointed nickname “Riverboat Ron.”

I don’t expect college coaches to follow the unwritten rule of Madden, which frowns upon punting and field goals, but will we see more unorthodox choices than usual.

If you’re missing half your starters because they’re back on campus in isolation, is there really anything to lose by throwing caution to the wind and going for it on 4th and 15 from your opponent’s 30 halfway through the first quarter?

Look, this season is going to be so unpredictable for a myriad of reasons, I almost hope all coaches enter the season knowing their job will be safe regardless of the season’s outcome.

With nothing to lose it enhances the opportunity we may get to see something special on the field, something we do not see very often.

It’s going to be difficult to judge a coach this season with all the different scenarios that can play out on the field with quarantined players and those choosing not to play.

Combine that with realization this upcoming season will be such a mental challenge for everyone, it’s going to be hard to hold anyone accountable for wins and losses.

But this is college football, so if I had to guess, this season will end with SEC fans upset Herbstreit is arguing for Ohio State’s inclusion in the playoffs, and numerous coaches will lose their jobs. There are some things not even Covid can stop.

Where Are The Arms?

By: TJ Hartnett

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

If we know anything about how the 2020 Major League Baseball season is going to play out, we know that teams who expect to be in the hunt are not screwing around.

Case in point: Mike Foltynewicz made one, just one, start for the Atlanta Braves this season, and it was a bad one; he was then immediately removed from the starting rotation and designated for assignment.

It was a bit of a shock but the Braves, like many other teams, can’t afford to let their players figure things out over the course of a few games; starters and their once-every-five-days schedule in particular.

Still, as good as Folty was down the stretch in 2019, it seemed somewhat drastic to cut him after one bad start (two, if you count Game 5 of the NLDS against the Cardinals, which I don’t, but only because I’m trying to forget it ever happened in the first place).

His velocity was down, sure, but I also get the sneaky suspicions that there was more going on behind the scenes then the Braves have made public but we may never know for sure.

Folty’s bad game and demotion came after a bad Sean Newcomb start and before a Kyle Wright start that began well and then spiraled; throwing into sharp focus the major deficiency of this 2020 Braves squad.

Yes, the Braves farm system is loaded with young and talented arms, but the Braves aren’t rebuilding. They’re trying to win their third straight NL East title; they need starters to produce now, not in the future.

The offense and bullpen were obvious strengths when actual spring training began but the rotation looked like it could stack up as well.

Mike Soroka had evolved into an ace and Max Fried had solidified his rotation spot in 2019, plus Folty’s aforementioned great finish to the season provided a seemingly strong core of young arms.

Atlanta brought in Cole Hamels to lead as a veteran on the mound and also took a flyer on former Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez, who looked incredibly good in his few starts before training was shut down and the season postponed.

Flash-forward to the end of July and Hernandez opted not to play this year due to COVID and Cole Hamels has remained injured, despite the hope that he would be ready for the start of the delayed season after getting hurt in February.

There goes the experience in the rotation. Hamels can still make an impact, but news on that front has been remarkably nonexistent.

So, in step the younglings. Newcomb returned to the rotation after proving himself a capable hand in the bullpen last year and Kyle Wright is getting the opportunity to show what he can do as well.

After Folty, the default veteran on the staff in his sixth full year of baseball, was removed.

Touki Toussaint was slotted in to take his place (and pitched admirably in his first chance – 0 runs on 3 hits in 4 innings). That’s a rotation without lot of experience and therefore not a lot of surety.

Wright looked sharp for the first two innings of his first start before things unraveled, but there was enough there that if he can continue to improve, he may end up being a reliable piece.

Newcomb has strung together a pair of bad outings, and as quickly as the Braves yanked Folty it seems like that his presence in the rotation hinges entirely on his third start – though it’s more likely he’d stick around in the bullpen than be demoted.

For a team that’s winning, the rotation has remained pretty shaky after Soroka and Fried and even though the season isn’t two weeks old yet, the trade deadline is less than a month away now. It may be time to start shopping.

Lost Rivals

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The SEC announced it would be moving to a 10-game only conference game schedule for the 2020 football season.

With this news it means it means people will not see Georgia/Georgia Tech, South Carolina/Clemson, Florida/Florida State, nor Kentucky/Louisville play their rivalry games this fall.

The start of the season will be pushed back until September 26th.

If you are a UGA fan this probably means you open the season in Tuscaloosa against Alabama on that date. It is unclear at this time which teams the Bulldogs would add to the schedule.

It’s assumed that they would play the six teams from the SEC East and keep the Crimson Tide, this year’s SEC West rotational opponent, and Auburn, the annual SEC West opponent, on the schedule.

The SEC is developing a formula based on strength of schedule to determine the remaining two games for each SEC team.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said the shift to late September will allow schools to reintegrate their entire student bodies on campus amid the new challenges presented by the pandemic.

“This new plan for a football schedule is consistent with the educational goals of our universities to allow for the safe and orderly return to campus of their student populations and to provide a healthy learning environment during these unique circumstances presented by the COVID-19 virus,” Sankey said in a statement. “This new schedule supports the safety measures that are being taken by each of our institutions to ensure the health of our campus communities.”

Clemson and South Carolina have played every year since 1909.

Georgia and Georgia Tech, which have played 114 times, have met in each season since 1925.

Florida and Florida State started playing each other in 1958. I hate losing these three games as a fan in 2020.

Other Big SEC non-conference games that were cut in 2020 are Alabama vs. USC in Arlington, Texas, was canceled when the Pac-12 opted to play only conference games.

Two other ACC-SEC games Georgia vs. Virginia and Auburn vs. North Carolina at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta are gone.

Other games that won’t be played: Texas at LSU, Arkansas at Notre Dame, Tennessee at Oklahoma, Missouri at BYU, Vanderbilt at Kansas State and Mississippi State at NC State.

2020 will go down as one of the worst years in history with the Covid-19 pandemic. I lost a family member to this deadly pandemic.

College football is like comfort food to many of us in the South, currently. I’m hoping the season takes place. As a UGA fan it bothers you that you can’t play a rival that is only 70 miles from your campus, but I applaud the SEC and the University Presidents for doing everything in their power to have a football season.

Questions to be answered now:

Once play begins will we even have fans in attendance?

Will UGA/UF be played in Jacksonville this year?

With the conference only format, will Florida and Georgia lose a home game?

What does a competitive balanced additional two SEC games mean?

Does that mean Florida picks up Texas A&M and Auburn while Alabama picks up Vanderbilt and Missouri?

Long time SEC fans know how everything seems to benefit Alabama in the long run. Yes, I said it prove me wrong from a historical perspective. It is going to be interesting when the additional two game rotation rolls out.

The ultimate goal is to have SEC football this fall, and Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate will resume in 2021 at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta.

Rabbit Out Of A Hat

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The first thing the NBA had to do to return in the midst of a pandemic was figure out how to deal with the pandemic.

The NBA created a bubble, routine testing protocols for what would happen if a player got sick and a competitive format to seed teams for the playoffs.

The Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves and New York Knicks were not invited to Disney.

The Orlando Magic expect to be back in the playoffs this season. The team has openly admitted they do not want to risk the franchise’s long-term future for short term gain.

With three key young players recovering from injury, what can Magic fans expect when the team tips off the new season?

Every one of the Magic’s eight upcoming seeding games will be important, but none of them figure to be as crucial as Friday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.

Orlando won both of its games over Brooklyn earlier in the season, but Brooklyn (30-34) owns a half game lead over Orlando (30-35) in the standings.

The Nets will be without Spencer Dinwiddie, Wilson Chandler, DeAndre Jordan and Taurean Prince as well as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Orlando is going to be managing the desire and importance of winning with protecting Mohamed Bama, Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz. It is important to see progress in these players, but the Magic roster without these players should be able to secure a playoff spot.

Coach Steve Clifford should rely on veterans such as Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, D.J. Augustin, Evan Fournier and Michael Carter Williams. Clifford has readily stated that he has no idea how the upcoming games will play out.

The X-factors for the Magic are Fultz and Isaac. Isaac hasn’t played since he severely sprained his left knee in January, but he is set to play under a minute restriction. Isaac might give the Magic an enormous boost on the defensive end of the floor.

Fultz has enhanced his reputation in his first full season with the Magic. He’s averaged 12 points a game and 5 assists for the Magic prior to the pandemic. Fultz creates serious concerns for opponents with his inside-out playstyle and ability to finish at the rim.

Fultz arrived a week late to the Disney bubble and is lagging behind everyone else in terms of conditioning. He must be able to maneuver the team into their offensive set at a brisk pace.

Fultz was asked how long he would need to regain his form, “I really don’t know. I feel good right now. I actually feel better than I did after the All-Star break.”

Fultz’s first full season with the Magic has been an exercise in defying expectations. If he continues to do so, Orlando will have a chance to surpass their playoff expectations.

The young Orlando Magic are looking to hit their stride at a critical time and gain valuable playoff experience. Nobody knows how this is going to turn out, but it might be the excitement or mystery surrounding the Restart Season.

Throw Me The Ball

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The NFC South has some of the most talented players in the NFL. I think most people would agree the strength of the division is on offense.

Let’s take a look at the top five wide receivers in the division.

# 1 Michael Thomas (New Orleans): I have to admit I’m surprised at this ranking. I know he’s a very good player but he doesn’t wow you with athleticism.

In 2019 he led the league in receptions (149) and receiving yards (1,725). He was tied for second in receiving touchdowns with nine.

He’s so far ahead of the guys in second place.

Christian McCaffrey is second in receptions with 116. That’s extremely impressive considering he’s a running back but you get the point.

Thomas has been in the NFL since 2016 and his stats have gotten better every year. His worst season was his rookie year and he had 1,137 yards and 9 TD’s.

# 2 Julio Jones (Atlanta): Julio was sixth in the league in receptions (99) and second in yards (1,394).

Jones has the rare combination of size and speed. I think he’s a more talented player than Thomas but I’m basing this on numbers. He had 21 plays of 20+ yards.

Jones has been the model of consistency since entering the league in 2011. He’s been to the Pro Bowl seven times in his nine seasons.

He has two seasons with under a thousand yards and his season was cut short due to injury both times. Julio is an outstanding player but the Falcons normally have other weapons on offense so he’s not always the focal point.

# 3 Chris Godwin (Tampa Bay): Godwin had a breakout year in his third season in 2019.

In his first two years he had 93 catches, 1,367 yards and 8 touchdowns.

Last season he was third in receiving yards (1,333) and tied for second with Michael Thomas for receiving touchdowns with 9.

What makes it more impressive is he missed two games and he did this with only 86 catches. Godwin had 25 plays that were 20+ yards so he’s a big play threat.

# 4 Mike Evans (Tampa Bay): If this list were based on total career Evans would have been one spot higher.

What’s impressive is Evans has been performing well for the Buccaneers with Jameis Winston primarily at quarterback. He’s also had Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing him passes. Having very inconsistent quarterbacks is why he’s never had 100 receptions in a season. The closest he came was 96 catches in 2016.

In 2019 he only had 67 receptions but he had 1,157 yards and 8 touchdowns.

Evans is a big, 6’5 receiver so we don’t think of him as a big play threat, but he is. He averaged 17.3 yards per catch and he had 17 plays of 20 or more yards.

# 5 D.J. Moore (Carolina): He drastically improved in his second season.

As a rookie in 2018 he had 55 receptions, 788 yards and two TD’s.

In 2019 he had 87 catches, 1,175 yards and 4 touchdowns. The addition of Teddy Bridgewater should help him improve in 2020.

What Might Have Been

By: JJ Lanier

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

For the past 15 years or so the SEC has been the best college football conference in the country.

As much as it pains me to say it, they’ve had the best coaches, players, and overall teams from top to bottom during that span.

To be honest, they’ve been at the top so long it was easy to forget that in the early 2000’s the ACC actually made a play for that honorable distinction when they added Boston College, Virginia Tech, and Miami to their lineup.

I actually remember a few columnists, as well as many ACC fans, were upset by the move because it was so obviously football centric many people thought it was going to water down the conference from a basketball viewpoint.

That was as acceptable in ACC country as it would be telling Alabama children they don’t need to be a quarterback, but should play tennis instead. (For the record, there’s nothing wrong with choosing tennis over football, but I don’t live in Alabama, either.)

I realize trying to explain to someone under the age of 20 that the Miami Hurricanes were actually a powerhouse program is as difficult as trying to convince my 15-year-old daughter that the Dave Matthews Band was once cool, but they were (in both cases).

The Hurricanes were so dominant back then it would be like taking this past season’s LSU team and extrapolating their success over the next 3 to 4 years.

Not only did it feel like the apocalypse was upon us anytime Miami lost, it also seemed like, for a while, the first round of the NFL draft was a who’s who of Hurricane players.

Virginia Tech wasn’t on the same level as Miami, but they had just gone through the Michael Vick years, which helped propel them into the national spotlight.

The Hokies had also signed Marcus Vick, Michael’s younger brother, so expectations were extremely high.

Boston College, even though they were kind of an afterthought among the three schools, were considered better than most other ACC programs.

When you combined the addition of those three schools, along with Florida State, which was a premier program, and Clemson, which always seemed to be bubbling right below the surface, the conference was poised to really become an athletic juggernaut.

Of course, like most plans, we all make it looks great on paper, but once you get 10 minutes into it the whole thing just falls apart.

Boston College is well, Boston College. Virginia Tech did fairly well, but has never been able to recreate the success they had in the few years prior.

As for Miami, the crown jewel of this expansion, you could argue they have been the worst of the three.

I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to say that overall the three programs have brought more success to the basketball court than the football field, which is saying something.

I have to admit, as a fan of the ACC, it gets a little rough thinking about what may have been had everything turned out the way most people expected.

Instead, the SEC has enjoyed being at the pinnacle of college football for the past 15 years and for right now are in a strong position to keep that spot for the next 15.

Then again, a lot of can change over a 15 year period; just ask the Dave Matthews Band.

Early Chatter

By: TJ Hartnett

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

After defeating the Mets 5-3 in 10 innings on Saturday night, the Atlanta Braves evened the beginning of their season to 1-1 with a meager 58 more games to play.

Two games wouldn’t generally provide a lot to chat about, but this is 2020 and everything is either a little or a lot different.

So, let’s take a moment and figure out what we can glean from Atlanta’s first two contests of the season.

Starting at the end: it took only two games before the Braves experienced one of 2020s more drastic rule changes; a runner on second to start every extra inning.

In Atlanta’s case, Adam Duvall started the top of the 10th on second base and the first batter up, Dansby Swanson drove him in to take a lead that the Braves would hang onto in the bottom of the inning.

It’s easy to say that I like the rule since the team I was rooting for won the first time it was used, but I do think it adds an immediate excitement to the game (in addition to being a functional way to shorten games in the middle of a pandemic).

Just look to the bottom of the 10th. The Braves were up by 3 runs, but with only one hit the Mets had the tying run at the plate in the form of last year’s MLB homerun leader Pete Alonso.

They only got one run across the plate, but the tension was great. The very real possibility that the Mets could come back was palpable right away. In short, regardless of how it goes game-to-game, this is going to be an exciting wrinkle to the season.

Let’s turn now to the offense that the Braves have produced over the first two games of the year. The 5 runs in the second game of the series is nothing to scoff at, but up through Marcel Ozuna’s game-tying homerun at the end of the game the Atlanta offense looked downright anemic.

The heavy hitters in the lineup, Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna, Jr., have done very little of note so far. Of course, it’s incredibly early, but with a 60-game season Atlanta can hardly afford to take some to warm up.

The pitching, for the most part, has looked good.

Mike Soroka picked right up where he left off with a stellar 6-inning outing on Opening Day, and Max Fried, while a little less in command of the ball, also pitched well.

The bullpen, specifically Chris Martin, was responsible for the lone run that cost the Braves the game after Soroka was pulled. However only one run allowed by the ‘pen is generally an acceptable amount.

Luke Jackson displayed his two trademarks: a) being left in too long (not his fault) and b) making a game unnecessarily close (his fault), but they got the win and you can’t argue with results.

The pitching was expected to be a strength of this team, and it looks like that may hold true.

Some other, quicker points: Pace has long been an issue with baseball, but neither game has seemingly dragged (again, small sample size).

The minimum of three batters for relievers along with the extra inning rule seem like they’ll be effective in this regard.

The DH in the National League has been a long time coming. Technically it’s a “this season only” rule, but I’d bet it’s here to stay.

Chip Caray said that the Mets are expected to make the playoffs. With a whopping 16 teams qualifying this season (if it gets that far), he’s probably right. It’s going to be a wild chase for the series.

Gator Chomp

By: Mike Anthony

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Last year saw the Jason Strickland era begin with a bang at Ware County.

Arriving in Waycross after successful stints at Lamar County, Fitzgerald and Pierce County, Strickland wasted no time in making his mark.

The Gators took a few lumps early on in the non-region schedule, only to storm through Region 2-AAAAA undefeated and make it to the second round of the state playoffs before bowing out to eventual state champion Buford.

Heading into Year Two under Strickland, Ware has faced the same trials and tribulations as every other team in GHSA, as they have been limited in their preparations for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think we’re getting through everything just fine,” Strickland said. “I’m lucky to have a staff that is experienced and has been together for a while. As for the kids, I think they’re fine. Honestly, I think kids respond to this kind of shake-up and adversity better than most adults.

“They have taken the attitude of focusing on what needs to be done each day and just working forward from there. That’s big for them and big for our community. A lot of people in this area need something to make them smile. And for a lot of these towns, football can do that. So long as we can be safe and play, that’s something we’re looking to do for ourselves and for the community.”

It’s good that the Gators have been hard at work because there will be no shortage of challenges on this season’s schedule.

Ware County joins longtime rival Wayne County in a shift to Region 1-AAAAA with the GHSA’s latest region alignments.

The teams spent the last few seasons playing region rivals in and around coastal Georgia, but the competition now shifts west and north as they join a stacked region that includes Coffee, Veterans and Warner Robins.

“I don’t think it’s a stretch to say this will be the toughest region in 5-A,” Strickland said. “It might be one of the toughest in the state at any level. But we’ll embrace that challenge. There will be a lot of tense Friday nights, but a lot of fun Friday nights.”

Heading into a tough schedule, the Gators will lean heavily on proven leaders on both sides of the ball.

Rising senior linebacker Michael Mincey has Strickland’s trust to make calls and anchor the defense.

On the attacking front, quarterback Thomas Castellanos will be a junior this fall, but has been at the helm of the Gator attack since he was a freshman.

“Michael has some big-time offers and he’s a leader on and off the field for us,” Strickland said. “Thomas can get things done with both his arm and his legs. He’s got another year in the system and he’s really starting to settle in and run the offense.”

In addition to their tough region slate, the Gators will travel to Florida to take on Bartram Trail and will also face Cook and Thomson in non-region action.

The New Buzz

By: Mike Anthony

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Wayne County is no stranger to great football. The Yellow Jackets rank 26th all-time in the state of Georgia with 561 wins.

Better yet, Wayne County is currently enjoying its most successful run to date.

Three of the school’s 15 region championships have come during a run that has seen the Jackets reach the playoffs in a school-record eight consecutive seasons.

The 2019 campaign saw a small step back with an 8-3 record following back-to-back region titles in 2017-18, but the Jackets notched a first-round win in the state tournament before dropping a close contest to state quarterfinalist Clarke Central.

This year’s team figures to be stacked as the Jackets return eight starters on offense and seven on defense.

Highly touted offensive guard Weston Franklin also returns to Jesup after spending a season at the IMG Academy.

“With everything going on (related to COVID-19 and practice restrictions), I still think we’re ahead of the game,” WCHS coach Ken Cribb said. “We have a lot of veteran guys who are ready to get the season going.”

One of the most impressive aspects of the Jackets’ recent success has been their ability to endure change. All prep teams must deal with graduating seniors, but many perennially successful programs have continuity at head coach. As for Wayne County, it has found its current success under three different head coaches.

“I give a lot of credit to everyone in the program,” said Cribb, who is entering his fourth season with a 28-6 record at Wayne. “We’ve got a great group of coaches and our kids are ready to work hard every day.”

Cribb and his team continue to have high hopes for another solid season, but the road will be much rougher due to region realignment.

Wayne County won its two most recent region titles while regularly dispatching struggling rivals such as Statesboro, South Effingham and New Hampstead.

Now a resident in Region 1-AAAAA, the Jackets will run a non-stop gauntlet of perennial powers Coffee, Veterans, Ware County and Warner Robins.

All five teams made it to at least the second round of last year’s playoffs, with Warner Robins finishing as state runners-up for a third consecutive season.

Opponents such as Pierce County, Benedictine and Richmond Hill dot the Jackets’ non-region schedule, meaning that there will be very few breathers along the way.

The Knights’ Crusade

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Brandon Derrick enters his 8th season as head football coach of the Frederica Academy Knights this fall.

Derrick has built Frederica into one of the elite programs in the Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) by winning the State Championship in 2018.

The Knights finished 4-6 in 2019 as they rebuilt from losing so many seniors from the championship team, but made the playoffs and lost in the first round to Southland Academy.

The 2020 Knights have 14 starters returning from last season and are experienced across the offensive and defensive lines of scrimmage.

Depth could be an issue because the Knights have a total of 31 players on the entire roster. Derrick says “We have a chance to develop and be good if we can avoid injuries”.

Garrett Squires will anchor the offensive line. Derrick says he is versatile and is a team leader in the locker room.

Jacob Triplett will play plug in at right tackle. The defensive line has experience with Will Thompson and Will Counts returning. Counts is a three-year starter at nose guard.

The Knights will run a spread offense that will be more run based. Thomas Veal looks to be the QB and looked good in limited reps in 2019 after he returned late in the season from a preseason injury.

Kyle Perez is up to 185 lbs. and will get the bulk of carries at running back. Watch for Jordan Triplett to break on to the scene this fall at WR/RB.

Josh Meadows and Josh Elliott will lead an experienced linebacker position. Jayden Rose will be one of the better corners in the region.

The schedule/My Predictions/ * Region Game

9/11 @ Valwood: Valwood might as well be the third public school in Lowndes County.

The Valiants cherry pick Valdosta and Lowndes and that makes them a state title contender every season. These two schools have developed a great rivalry over the past 4-5 seasons.

Beating Valwood on the road will be very tough. The Knights play well but fall short 27-20 to go 0-1 on the season, but could see Valwood again in the postseason.

9/18 Calvary: Calvary always has one or two very talented players, but in the home opener Frederica gets it done 28-22 to even its record to 1-1 on the season.

9/25 @Tiftarea: The Knights travel to Chula, which is 10 miles north of Tifton to play the Panthers who went 8-4 in 2019.

This could be another playoff preview game for Frederica. The Knights come up a little short in this one 17-14 to fall to 1-2 on the season.

10/2 Brantley County: The Herons come to St. Simons to play football instead of the entire county coming over for 4th of July Fireworks. Highly anticipated matchup between the schools.

The public school Herons take the private school Knights for granted and get beat 24-18. The Knights go to 2-2 on the season.

10/16: Long County: Long is awful in football. FA wins 27-14 to go to 3-2

10/23: Memorial Day: The Matadors roll to SSI and get blistered 34-6. FA goes to 4-2 on the season.

10/30 @ Bulloch Academy *: The Gators, I’m told, have been recruited hard by Benedictine and lost key players.

The Knights find a way to win the region opener on the road 28-26 to set up a battle with Pinewood for the region crown in two weeks. FA goes to 5-2.

11/6 St. Andrews *: The Knights handle the Lions 34-16 to go to 6-2 and 2-0

11/13 @ Pinewood: The Patriots are loaded and the Knights gave the game away to them in 2019.

FA can win this game in Bellville, which is near Claxton. Due to factors out of their control, if you get my drift, the Knights fall short 27-23 and go to at 6-3 and 2-1 in region play.

11/20: Trinity Christian: The Crusaders roll into St. Simons and crusade out with a 28-14 loss. FA finishes the regular season with a 7-3 record and finish 3-1 in the region.

Frederica is a solid playoff team barring a rash of injuries in 2020.

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