For the Bethlehem Christian Academy Knights, it’s game week.
The Knights will be the first Barrow County team to play a high school football game that counts as they travel to Augusta Prep Friday for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. For head coach Lance Fendley, it’s time to get things started.
“I know our players are tired of practice,” Fendley said. “We are ready to go. We had a team meeting Monday at 7 a.m. to talk about the upcoming week. You have to prepare fully on game weeks because games are won Monday through Thursday and not on Friday.”
BCA competed in a preseason jamboree last Friday against Loganville Christian Academy and Towers High School. The defense was a standout for the Knights.
“One of the things we can build on from the scrimmage is that we showed we are a resilient team,” Fendley said. “Against Loganville Christian last year they probably scored 30-40 percent of the time on us. This year they only scored twice. That is something we can definitely build on. The defense stole the show for us Friday.
Augusta Prep will present a tough challenge in the opener.
While the Cavaliers currently compete in the Glory for Christ League (formerly known as the Georgia Football League), they are a former GISA program and continue to compete against several schools in the association BCA is a member of.
“They have a strong nucleus coming back,” Fendley said. “They beat some quality teams last year handidly. I think they are the type of opponent who is going to let us know where we stand right off. It will be a good test. They are very simple in what they do. When a team keeps it simple, it usually means they are good at their schemes.
Defensively, Augusta Prep will use a man coverage and often blitz a defender from inside the box.
“They look to take away the pass and are very physical,” Fendley said. “Their front seven is the strength of their defense. Their defensive line and linebackers get after the football. In the secondary, their corners play a weird technique so that will be an area we will try to attack. We won’t get too fancy. We’ll just do what we do and try to put a lot of points on the board.”
BCA added PJ Klein to their roster in recent days and his athletic ability will be an added boost for the Knights as well as another player for depth purposes.
“We came out of the scrimmage healthy,” Fendley said. “We do have a few things to work on before Friday. We had a quarterback playing the position for the first time so that will lead to some bumps and bruises along the way. Defensively, we tackled well and were in the right spots to make plays. We have to be more aggressive. We can’t be afraid to come up and make the big stop. You have to be in the mindset of sacrificing yourself for the team.”
While some coaches enjoy a week off between scrimmages and games which count, Fendley said he likes the setup BCA has this season. The first game is the week after the scrimmage. The Knights will then have their bye week Aug. 30.
“I think that allows you to get more accomplished,” the coach said.