This week Apalachee High School football coach Shane Davis is having to deal with more than the usual preparations for an upcoming opponent.
With his players out of school for fall break, Davis is having to try and keep his team focused on the task at hand: an upcoming road trip to Habersham Central Friday. It’s another in a line of 10 Region 8-AAAA games for the Wildcats, ranked ninth in the state, and Davis knows each game is just as important as the last one.
“I’ve been here five years and we handled it in different ways,” Davis said. “There is no good way to do it.” One of the challenges will be Friday when players will not have the usual structure of a school day to keep them occupied before leaving for the longest road trip of the season.
“There’s really no reason to have them here all day because if they are here too long they just lay around and they can do that at home,” the coach said.
In the end, it’s simply another detail Davis and his coaching staff will have to contend with in addition to the opponent on the field.
“I am concerned about it,” Davis said. “You never know how the kids will react to their schedule being different. We keep trying to stress to them that each game is bigger when you play 10 region games.”
Habersham Central, led by first-year head coach Stuart Cunningham, is coming off a 35-6 loss to Madison County.
“They are a hard-nosed team,” Davis said of the Raiders. “They are very well coached and very physical. Defensively, they run to the ball. They have a strong quarterback and some good running backs. They put you in a bind with what they do. They play well at home so we will have a big test on Friday.”
It will also be the longest road trip of the regular season for the Wildcats.
Practice this week was set to be in the afternoon early in the week. Davis said there was a possibility of having a morning session at some point but he had not decided Sunday night.
Davis said he hopes his players realize this week is just as important as last Friday’s Battle of Barrow.
“If not, then it is our job as coaches to make them realize it,” he said.