Big challenge for Lovejoy

By Doug Gorman

The Lovejoy Wildcats' football team might as well have a big target stitched on their jerseys.

That's because members of head coach Al Hughes' football team are marked men.

That goes with the territory when a team is the No. 6 ranked Class AAAAA squad in the state and currently cruising through an undefeated season.

Despite it's 6-0 record and recognition as one of Georgia's best high school football teams, Lovejoy isn't going to make its reservations to playoffs or proclaim itself Region 4-AAAAA champions just yet.

Hughes' Wildcats still face a couple of hurdles the next two weeks in their quest for region supremacy.

Tonight, Lovejoy takes to the road for a contest against No. 10 ranked East Coweta (6-1).

East Coweta head coach Danny Cronic is one of the most respected coaches in the business. A year ago, Cronic's East Coweta squad made the playoffs with a 6-4 record, but hit its stride in the postseason, advancing all the way to semifinals of the Class AAAAA football tournament, before falling to eventual state champion Parkview.

Hughes knows Cronic will have his team ready to play the Wildcats.

"He's done a great job with his program, said Hughes. "They've always been a big nemesis to Lovejoy High School. "We are going to have to step it up and be competitive."

Lovejoy is coming off a huge offensive performance in a 35-6 victory against Carver Columbus.

Quarterback Kisan Flakes had perhaps the best game of his high school career completing 13 of 16 passes for more than 300 yards and three touchdowns.

Flakes begin his career in Hollywood fashion a year ago. With the Wildcats trailing Jonesboro at the half, Flakes entered the game and rallied the team for the win. That was in the third game of the season, and Flakes has been in the lineup ever since.

It's been a very successful gig for Flakes who is 13-2 as a starter.

This season Lovejoy is living by solid play on both sides of the football. Through six games, the Wildcats have outscored opponents 220-68.

East Coweta has also put up some big numbers on the offensive side of the football with a multi-dimensional game plan that includes running, passing and running out of the option.

"I don't think defensively we can stop their offense," said Hughes, "We can only contain them."

One member of the Lovejoy defense says the Wildcats are up to the challenge.

"It's another game, but it's big. "We'll see who will win the region championship," said defensive end Jeremy Lomax.

According to Richard Carter, who plays on the Lovejoy defensive line, being ranked as helped the team's confidence grow each week.

"We have to do the things to keep us in those rankings," he said.

East Coweta holds a 6-3 advantage in the series with Lovejoy, but the Wildcats won last year's game 36-7.