The first bye week of the season came at an ideal time last week for Bethlehem Christian Academy as the Knights used the extra few days to get healed up physically, give some more players down the depth chart some extra snaps and to try to address some of the miscues that have played factors in their 0-2 start.
“We’ve been trying to tweak some things, and our ability to really spend multiple days working on the fundamentals rather than having to prepare for another opponent right away, I think, allowed us to get better,” said BCA coach Bruce Lane, whose team will make the trip to Martinez on Friday, Sept. 25, to take on Augusta Prep.
After a 49-0 loss in their season opener against Strong Rock Christian, Lane said the Knights made strides in their last outing on Sept. 11, when they had a 14-0 lead at Towns County after a quarter. But turnovers and penalties plagued the Knights as the Indians eventually rallied for a 28-14 victory.
“We improved from week one to week two, which is what you’re always looking to do,” Lane said. “But (Towns County) played a little bit better in the second half, and that’s an area we’ve really got to work on. We’ve got to learn to be consistent and close out a game like that. It’s going to take us winning a game, but hopefully this is the week we’re going to get back on track. I hope these two weeks will have given us time, and I feel pretty good about where we are.
“We’re a typical young team in transition with a new head coach, so things aren’t going to change overnight. But our kids have bought in and are working hard, and I’m looking forward to seeing some guys step forward and really become leaders for us as the season goes on.”
The Knights will look to get on the winning side of things Friday against the only team they defeated in 2019 — Augusta Prep — though Lane cautioned the Cavaliers are “a year older, stronger and better overall” than the squad that took a 65-0 walloping in Bethlehem and finished winless last fall.
Augusta Prep enters Friday’s game at 2-1 and routed Notre Dame Academy 47-0 and Georgia School for Innovation and the Classics 41-0 before dropping a 29-27 contest at Glascock County last week. The Cavaliers are a predominantly run-oriented team, Lane said, and are led primarily by junior Adam Bussey and sophomore Bryson Cronan in the backfield.
“They’re very fundamentally sound and are going to line up with two tight ends and a wing and try to run off tackle, and we’ve got to find a good scheme to slow them down,” Lane said. “They’re going to be content to take a few yards at a time and hold onto the ball, so we’ve got to try to get them off the field, look to try to make them punt or force a turnover and not allow them to control the clock. It’s going to be one of those games where likely the team that has the fewest penalties and turns it over the least has the best chance of winning. And that’s been our issue. We’ve turned it over a little bit and a few more penalties against Towns County than we would have liked. We forced some turnovers and did some good things in the kicking game. But we also had opportunities to put some more points on the board and instead had penalties and missed assignments.
“That’s just part of the growing pains of becoming a good football program and getting to where we want to go.”
Still, Lane is optimistic that the Knights have been battle-tested and may be going into Friday’s game with a strength-of-schedule advantage.
“That’s not to take anything away from them, though,” he said. “We’ve got to be ready to play and control the things we can control like being in the right spot, blocking the right people and making the tackles and plays we should make. If we play up to our potential, we’re going to be alright, but we can’t put ourselves in a situation where we won’t be able to be successful.
“We just have to do the little things right, and that’s been our rallying cry — learning to compete every down and in everything we do. Once we get to that point, I think you’ll start seeing the individual statistics improve and see more positive results on the scoreboard.”