The Yellow Jackets and Bulldogs have struggled in their start to the 2012 season as they each enter the contest at 0-3. Forsyth Central is coming off a 48-29 home loss to Dawson County last week that many of the Sprayberry coaching staff, including coach Billy Shackelford, witnessed in person.
“We had our bye week last week so members of the coaching staff went up to see that game and we were impressed,” Shackelford said. “I was impressed by the fight from (Forsyth Central). They’re a team that plays hard, and even though they fell behind, there wasn’t any quit in them. I liked how they battled and worked themselves back into the game.”
Forsyth Central was 1-9 last season in Region 7AAAA, but the Bulldogs return 24 seniors looking to make amends for last year. Quarterback Spencer Transue is in his second year as the starter and he is complemented by all-region running back Alex Taylor, who rushed for 900 yards a season ago. Four of five interior linemen, however, are gone as the Bulldogs continue to develop that area of the team.
“They have a dynamic quarterback who makes plays with his legs and his arm,” Shackelford said. “I’ve known that coaching staff for a couple of years now, and they’re great coaches. I expect it to be an exciting game. I’ve challenged our guys to go in there, make plays and play a full game, from bell to bell and whistle to whistle.”
For both teams, it will be their first taste of Region 7AAAAA play and their first time playing one another. The 11-team region has Forsyth Central as a member of the north subregion, while Sprayberry is a part of the south.
“They’re on the other side of the region,” Shackelford said. “Each team in the region picked up two games from the other subregion off a blind draw, so that’s how we ended up playing each other. Forsyth Central is a similar team to us in that they’re looking for their first victory of the year too. Both teams are going to really want to win.”
After watching Forsyth Central live, one of Shackelford’s concerns about the Bulldogs is their ability to confuse you defensively.
“Offensively, they play multiple offenses, which presents preparation problems for the coaching staff,” he said. “They’ll run the spread, the wishbone, the wing-T, and just about everything else. They’ve been in the veer, the triple option and they throw the ball a little bit. They give you a lot to prepare for.”
Sprayberry’s preparation for tonight has been split between itself and Forsyth Central. The Yellow Jackets used that time to work on aspects of the team that have contributed to the 0-3 start.
“We worked on Sprayberry during the bye week,” Shackelford said. “The kids watched film, and it gave them an opportunity to look at themselves on film, fix some things and get things ironed out.
“We saw Forsyth Central (Sept. 14) and implemented the game plan against them this week. As a road game to a place we haven’t been before, it was nice to see their facility and get a layout and feel for the crowd. Where we saw where we’ll have to set up and we made mental preparations on how to handle things when we get there. We feel comfortable with what to expect (today).”