Shane Davis didn’t hide the fact that it was nice to be on the winning side Friday night.
The Apalachee High School football coach saw his Wildcats take part in another thriller against Loganville. This time, AHS held on for a 35-28 victory to record its first Region 8-AAAAA win of the 2012 season.
“It’s been a while,” Davis said. “We’ve told the kids if they keep working then good things will happen. We saw something good happen Friday night.” The Wildcats, who are now 2-4 overall and 1-3 in region play, trailed 28-20 at halftime, but rallied for a win on an 18-yard pass from Clint Ashe to Jermaine Smith with 6:07 to play. A fumble by LHS inside AHS territory sealed the fate of the Red Devils, who would be unable to regain possession as the Wildcats ran out the final 2:54.
AHS will seek to stay on the winning side this week when it ventures to Cedar Shoals in Athens. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
“Cedar is a good team,” Davis said. “Some people might look at their overall record (3-3, 1-3) and not see that. However, they really gave Gainesville a battle. They are very athletic on both sides of the football. Offensively, they will try to spread you out even though they have a very physical running game.”
Apalachee will be coming off a physical game against Loganville while Cedar Shoals had its bye week.
The Wildcats have faced several teams this season after the opponent had the week off.
“Anytime you play Loganville you know it’s going to be a physical battle,” Davis said. “I am a little concerned about having to turn around and play another quality opponent this week. There’s really not much we can do about it. Does it give them an advantage? I don’t know. We were off the week before we played Gainesville and it didn’t help us much.”
The Wildcat offense will look to continue their success this week although coaches and players know it will be a tough challenge.
“Cedar Shoals is big, fast and physical,” said AHS offensive coordinator Joel Miller. “They look similar to every Cedar team we have played in the past. They will base out of the 3-4 defense and they will look to keep our offensive linemen off of their linebackers so they can go make plays. It will be a big test for us on the road. Cedar Shoals is a tough place to play at and we will have to really focus and execute to come out of there with a win.”
The Wildcats now have an additional offensive weapon as Monterian Smith had joined the team after transferring to the school. Smith was declared eligible last week and practiced for the first time Tuesday.
“He only practiced a couple of days and I was happy to see him get in Friday and carry the ball six times and have two key blocks to spring big plays,” Miller said. “All three of our wing backs played well Friday night and hopefully that will continue.”
The AHS coaches said it will be nice to have an additional offensive weapon and hopes to work Smith into the game plan even more once he gets an additional comfort level with the scheme.
Despite all the yardage and points last week, there were some areas the coaches want to see improvement in.
“I was proud of our offensive performance,” Miller said. “We played hard and executed in crucial situations. We played from behind with no panic and we converted numerous third downs and even a few fourth downs during the game that gave us a chance to continue long drives and put touchdowns on the board. We did have a few blown assignments and busted plays that we have to correct. We’ll work on that this week.”
Defensive coordinator Matt Sorrells knows it will be a tough task Friday night.
Cedar runs a variety of spread looks," Sorrells said. "Like all the teams we play, they have very talented skill players and a big offensive line. They will use zone blocking schemes up front for their run plays and then take shots deep in the passing game."