There were some areas which gave the Apalachee High School football program cause to be optimistic Friday night, but in the end the Wildcats fell 48-26 to Woodland High School on the road in Henry County.
Coach Shane Davis said while the defense did help create some of the Wildcat point total, allowing 48 will in no way be sufficient this fall.
“We did see some good things,” Davis said. “We had too many penalties which hurt drives. When penalties stop a drive or take a big play away, then you are hurting yourself too much. We had a chance early to put a gap between us. You never know how the momentum of a game may change, but we had a chance to go up and score more points but then a penalty would stop us.”
Kyle Jackson had an interception return in the second half to the Woodland 3-yard line, setting up a score by Alantae Billings.
Ricky Wozon also scored a defensive touchdown for AHS. That play was the highlight of the night for Wozon, who was later sidelined with an ankle injury.
Woodland led 20-12 at halftime, but continued to find ways to add to its point total in the second half. AHS pulled to within 40-26 after a touchdown by Jackson, but the Wildcats could get no closer.
Billings wore many hats offensively for AHS Friday in the season opener, splitting time at quarterback, running back and wide receiver.
“We were disappointed in the outcome of the game, obviously, but after watching the film we saw some positive things,” said Wildcat offensive coordinator Joel Miller. “We had the ball in their territory up 7 points twice in the first quarter and penalties killed our drives. We have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot with mistakes. I can’t count how many times we were one block away from big plays. We just have to become more consistent up front and on the perimeter with our blocking assignments.”
The Wildcats went back to work this week in preparation for the Battle of Barrow this Friday against Winder-Barrow High School.
“If we can get a few things fixed then we should be O.K.,” Davis said. “On defense, we would call stunts and blitzes and have two people going into the same gap. You just can’t continue to do that. Missing assignments against athletic teams will get you beat. We also have to tackle better. We missed some tackles on Woodland’s first score. We have some new kids who hadn’t been out there before. Hopefully, they will be more used to the speed of the game moving forward.”