The tough road through Region 8-AAAAA continue for the Apalachee High School Wildcats this Friday.
AHS ventures to Flowery Branch for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff still in search of its first win of the 2013 season. The Wildcats are coming off a 43-19 loss to Clarke Central, also on the road, last week.
“It is another tough week in region play,” said Wildcat offensive coordinator Joel Miller. “Flowery Branch is another team that will contend for the region championship. They have all the qualities that a team needs to win championships. They are well coached and very physical. We someone have to stop turning the football over or we don’t stand a chance against anyone in this region. We have played well at times this year but turnovers have hurt us tremendously.”
In Friday’s game against Clarke Central, the Wildcats trailed just 14-13 at halftime. Jody Mathis scored on a 1-yard run for AHS before returning an interception 95 yards for a score just before halftime.
Clarke Central’s Jaqua rushed for five touchdowns to set a new Gladiator record He finished with 137 yards on 22 carries including touchdown runs of 6, 1, 29, 3 and 19 yards.
“This region is very tough,” Miller said. “When we were in AAA, we played Elbert, Hart and Stephens and those teams were really good. However, the overall depth of the region is not even close. Even our non-region schedule was against a one-loss team and an undefeated team. We just have to keep getting better and continue improving on things that we are struggling at. It’s going to be tough, but that’s all we can do.”
AHS defensive coordinator Matt Sorrells said Flowery Branch is similar to teams the Wildcats have already faced this fall.
"They have a big, physical linemen, a very talented quarterback and their other skill players are very good as well," Sorrells said. "They are a spread team that likes to run the ball and they do it extremely well."
Sorrells agreed with Miller's assessment concerning the overall toughness of the region this season.
"The only other time when I can remember competing in a region that was comparable to this was when I first started coaching here and we were in AA," Sorrells said. "We had to play the likes of Buford, Wesleyan, GAC and others. It probably wasn't quite as strong top to bottom as 8-AAAAA is now, but the top teams compared to everyone else were very good."
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