The Apalachee High School football team has faced the gauntlet this season in terms of its schedule.
Two quality non-region opponents have been followed by games against three of the top teams in 8-AAAAA. Last week the Wildcats fell 42-20 to Flowery Branch and will look to get in the win column this week for homecoming against Loganville High School.
“We knew Flowery Branch had improved as the season has gone on,” AHS coach Shane Davis said. “They continue to get better. That showed Friday. On offense, they have a spread look, but their intent is to run the football. Their receivers are good enough to make their passing game work.”
After falling behind by several scores in the first half, the Wildcats were left scrambling to play catch up.
“When that happens, you are doing things you aren’t used to doing,” Davis said. “You make adjustments, but the other team does too. You have to decide if you want to continue working on things that will help you down the road.”
Despite the team’s 0-5 start, Davis said he knows the players will continue working hard and doing what the coaches ask, just as they always have.
“Our kids have always come back pretty strong,” the coach said. “We just have to get some things fixed.”
Loganville, this Friday’s foe, will once again be a hard-nosed team that is big on the offensive and defensive lines.
“They are always going to give you problems with the numbers of formations they use,” Davis said. “You have to be prepared for them. They are always a competitive team, even if they don’t win the region. Their record was not great last year, but they ended up beating Gainesville, who turned out to be the state champion.”
With five games remaining, a win is essential for the AHS team, its coach said.
“Our confidence is down right now,” Davis said. “We are at the point where we have to find a way to win a game.”
Wildcat offensive coordinator Joel Miller said LHS will base out of a 3-5 look on defense.
“Their defensive line is huge,” Miller said. “However, their linebackers and secondary do not seem to be that big. They play really hard, which is always a characteristic of their team. They run to the football and deliver a big hit when they get there. We have to play physical and we must take care of the football to give ourselves a chance to win. If we turn it over, the outcome will be no different than the previous five games.”
AHS defensive coordinator Matt Sorrells is expecing LHS to be a physical foe this week.
“Loganville is very much a run right at you opponent,” Sorrells said. “Their offensive linemen are excellent run blockers and they rotate several different running backs in the game. When teams have started overplaying the run, they have been able to have success with their play action passing game.”
Kickoff for the homecoming contest is set for 7:30 p.m.