The winner of this evening’s 7:30 affair between the pair of 5-AA heavyweights will put themselves in good standing on the road to a region title, though Blue Devil coach Ricky Tolleson understands that this isn’t necessarily a make-or-break game quite yet, either.
“It’s one very, very early and this is a very important football game. It’s not one where you put all the eggs in this basket, but I tell you, the winner of this ball game will be sitting in good shape — no ifs, ands or buts,” Tolleson said.
Heard County coach Tim Barron and the Braves (2-0, 0-0 Region 5-AA) are coming off an open week, making for ample time to prepare for the Blue Devils’ Wishbone attack, which can be a tricky animal to cage in upon a first encounter.
Likewise, Tolleson said the Braves’ high-octane offense — spearheaded by sophomore sensation Duranta Dunson — will provide an equally difficult chore for his defense to contain this evening.
“I tell you, we haven’t found any weaknesses in what they do offensively or defensively. They’re well-coached. They formation you on offense and they attack the entire field. They’re tailback-oriented and they’ve got a really good quarterback. Their line of scrimmage is a very good line of scrimmage. They stay after it until the snap of the whistle and they just possess a lot of speed,” Tolleson said. “They’ll take their shots downfield in the passing game, too. They just do a lot of things really well.”
The Blue Devils (2-1, 1-0) are coming off a 35-0 rout of Chattahoochee County last week in their region opener and Tolleson is hopeful of carrying a strong week of practice into tonight’s ball game.
Tolleson said junior fullback Voltaire Driver — who suffered a dislocated elbow in the season opener on Aug. 25 — will be out again tonight, and that he remains week-to-week. The Blue Devil coach said Driver will return this season, noting that it’s just a matter of time now.
“We’re going to get him back. It’s kind of a weekly process. He’s made exactly the improvement that Dr. [Gregory] Slappey felt like he would make. He’s been getting his therapy and he’s up to running a little bit right now. We hope to have him back in a week or two or three. It’s just kind of a week-to-week deal still,” Tolleson said. “But he’s progressing. He wishes he was ready to go right now. He’d like to be going right now. But our team has responded around it — no doubt.”
Bremen and Heard County haven’t played since the 2007 season when the Blue Devils won a 51-30 contest. And though Bremen owns the 9-3 advantage in the all-time series, the two teams have split the past four meetings.
Tolleson said he’s glad to have the Braves, a preseason favorite to win the region, back on the schedule after the five-year hiatus.
“It should be a great ball game. We’ve had some tremendous ball games with Bremen and Heard. It’s been a while since we played ... I think the last one was a shootout. It was one of those weird nights. We had rain and lightning. It was just a long, long night. But we’ve had some ball games in the past years,” Tolleson said. “It’s good to be playing them again. They’re close and we’ve had a rivalry with them before. It’s just good to be playing them again.”
Barron could not be reached for comment on Thursday.