It took a span of two days, but the Apalachee High School football team put one in the win column Saturday, Sept. 14.
The game with Jackson County last Friday was delayed until Saturday afternoon due to weather conditions at R. Harold Harrison Stadium. School officials wanted to get the game completed on Friday since it was homecoming, but tons of lightning, which flashed across the Barrow County sky, said otherwise.
When the teams returned to the field the following afternoon at 3 p.m., it would be the Wildcats who emerged with a 21-14 victory.
“We will take it any way we can get it,” AHS coach Tony Lotti said of the first win of 2019. “I am proud of how our players came back the next day and responded. We were a little flat on Friday. Both teams had to face adversity with the delay and then having to come back on Saturday.”
The Wildcats coach said the team had to work around several players taking the ACT on Saturday. One player was not able to be at the game due to his work duties.
Another aspect which probably went unknown to many was the scramble to have another pre-game meal provided.
“Behind the scenes it was really chaotic,” Lotti said.
The coaches were finally able to begin preparations Sunday for Walnut Grove High School. AHS will be on the road Friday, Sept. 20, and hope to make it two victories in as many contests.
The Warriors have struggled to a 0-3 start this season with setbacks to George Walton Academy (37-7), Morgan County (35-14) and to Monroe Area (42-2). Senior running back Tyler Lester has been a bright spot as has senior offensive lineman Colin Evon.
Similar to how Lotti didn’t want his team to be too down after a gut-wrenching loss to Madison County, he doesn’t want AHS to peak emotionally after the victory against Jackson County.
“We aren’t taking anything for granted,” the coach said. “We went back to work on Sunday. The win against Jackson County was nice but it is time to turn the page. We tell our players to try and not look at an opponent’s record and to focus on who they have played and what things they do well. The reality is, in Georgia high school football, you better show up and be prepared to compete because the most talented team doesn’t always win.”
The Wildcat offensive line will be looked to this week to help set the tone for the game.
“We need to be able to create creases up front,” Lotti said. “From Walnut Grove, we need to expect every trick play in the book. It will be important to stay on an even state of mind. Momentum can be a funny thing in football.”
Kickoff at Walnut Grove High School is set for 7:30 p.m.