Shane Davis wasn’t going to sugarcoat things.
His team did not play well in its season opener against Lanier High School last Friday. The 42-14 loss had Davis knowing all too well things have to improve and improve quickly for his team as they travel to face perennial state playoff team Greater Atlanta Christian this week.
“It’s hard to judge if we lost the way we did because we made mistakes or if Lanier was simply a better team,” Davis said. “I don’t want to take away from them. That would not give them the credit they deserve. However, I’m not sure if we had played a perfect game whether we would have won. We won’t ever know. I do know Lanier is a good team, a big team and very physical. They are also very athletic at their skill positions.”
Davis, now in his ninth season at AHS, said one thing he does know is that his team cannot make the number of mistakes it did Friday and be successful. Turnovers played a big role in the outcome.
The game begin under tough circumstances for the Wildcats, who trailed 21-0 right off the bat even though the Longhorns had run just six offensive plays.
“You can’t prepare for scenarios like that and they are hard to overcome,” Davis said. “We fought back and had a couple of opportunities to cut the lead to seven. For the most part, we had some kids we played awful hard but we also had some kids who were overwhelmed by the speed of the game.”
Greater Atlanta Christian, a Class AA program, reached the state semifinals in 2012 and is already 2-0 this season with wins against Stone Mountain, a AAAA school, and Savannah, a AAA program. The Spartans have scored a combined 89 points in those two wins while giving up just 32.
“They are big on the offensive and defensive lines,” Davis said. “They are bigger than us. Once you get in the top tier of any classification, you are going to find very good football teams who will be able to compete against anyone. GAC has proven that over the years. They are well coached and very physical. They are a team that expects to win. They always seem to go deep in the playoffs. They have a lot back this season defensively and are picked to win their region. One prediction had them going 10-0 in the regular season.”
While eliminating turnovers will be a key for AHS this Friday, there are other areas Davis said improvements must be made in.
“We have to block better and tackle better,” the coach said. “It goes from the top player down to the ninth grade player who may be on special teams. Every aspect of our program has got to get better.”
The opener against Lanier was a physical contest and Davis said he hopes to be at full strength this week.