Statesboro, Savannah in Super Bowl showdown - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Statesboro, Savannah in Super Bowl showdown


As soon as the matchup was set, the storyline became obvious.

But never mind Harbaugh versus Harbaugh. Around here, Super Bowl XLVII is a matter of Statesboro versus Savannah.

"There's a lot of personal pride,'' said Statesboro High School football coach Steve Pennington. "But there's also a lot of community and school pride.''

That will be felt all around the area the next two weeks with two local players, former Statesboro High star DeAngelo Tyson and Calvary Day grad Demarcus Dobbs, both going to the biggest game of the year.

"We're just really excited for him and for him to represent us and represent Savannah and the community,'' said Jason Shell, who coached Dobbs in basketball at Calvary. "We're just really excited.''

"A lot of people in the area are probably not interested in the 49ers or the Ravens after the Falcons got put out,'' added Statesboro High athletic director Dr. Ken LeCain. "But this kind of ads a little more to it when you know people in it.''

Tyson, a defensive end, is in his rookie season with the Ravens. He has seen action in two of Baltimore's three playoff games so far. Dobbs is in his second season as a defensive tackle with the 49ers, but is injured and will not play next week but will travel to New Orleans with the team.

They share more than a quick path to the Super Bowl.

Both grew up in boys homes, Tyson in Statesboro's Jones Home for Boys and Dobbs at Bethesda in Savannah. They were teammates at the University of Georgia and both remain loyal to the schools where they got their starts.

"It's so fun to watch him walk back onto campus,'' Griffin said of Dobbs. "Even the younger kids who are not sure who Demarcus was because they were in middle school or elementary school, they see him and say oh, man, that's Demarcus Dobbs and look at what he's doing."

"We were texting each other Sunday night and just wanted to congratulate him and his team making it,'' added Shell. "It sounded like, through his text, he was excited and we're excited for him.''

Tyson has maintained a close relationship with Statesboro assistant principal Julie Mizell.

"Whenever he comes home, he'll call me and say Miss Julie can you get me into the game?,'' said Mizell. "We talk after every game. My text to him Sunday was Super Bowl bound and I'm so proud of you.''

The two local players bring a new level of excitement to what around here could be known as the I-16 Showdown. They also allow for an old Super Bowl tradition to their high schools as the Statesboro and Calvary athletic directors have placed a friendly bet on the game. And it's one straight from their stomachs.

"I think,'' said LeCain, "we will wager one of Statesboro's finest cuisine items on the Ravens in hopes that DeAngelo and his crew can come through and that being a couple of pounds of Vandy's barbecue.''

"Well, I think probably the most famous thing we have here in Savannah is Paula Deen,'' countered Griffin. "So how about a gift certificate to Paula Deen's Lady and Sons. I think that's a good wager.''

It will also be a good way to make a uniquely interesting game even better in Statesboro and Savannah.

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