By Anthony Rhoads
Going into tonight's Class AAAAA second-round playoff game against Houston County, Lovejoy head coach Al Hughes isn't taking anything for granted.
Houston comes into tonight's contest at Twelve Oaks Stadium with just a 6-4-1 record but the Bears come out of Region 1-AAAAA, which has some of the best teams in the state.
"They come out of a tough region," Hughes said. "Their losses are against Valdosta and Lowndes County. They're as good as any undefeated team in the state. They'll come up here with an attitude and we'll have to play our best game."
Last week in a 21-7 victory over Bradwell Institute, Houston County's defense really stepped up including defensive ends John Atkins and Kyle Moore and linebacker Gaines Burnett.
"We just can't be forced into playing their kind of game," Hughes said. "We'll have to play our kind of game."
Lovejoy's game on offense is the spread or the P.E. offense, as Hughes calls it.
The offensive system is catching on at the high school and collegiate level.
"We'll have to start running the wing-T to be different," Hughes said. "It's a fun thing for us. When we go on the playground we recruit our athletes. When you got out on the playground, nobody runs the wing-T or wishbone, they line up, throw the ball and catch and that's kind of what we do with our offense."
One cog in Lovejoy's offense will be missing tonight, junior quarterback Mario Fannin.
Fannin is listed as day-to-day after getting hurt against Mundy's Mill. Fannin didn't play in Lovejoy's first-round victory over Redan and Ryan Williamson to the starting job.
"He's not flashy," Hughes said. "He's just a true leader and winner and gets the job done. He'll gnaw at your ankles and do what he needs to do."
Lovejoy has made the playoffs every year since 2001 and last year they beat Coffee in the first round but lost to Westside-Macon in the second round.
Houston County also made it to the second round last year. Last season, the Bears beat Groves in the first round but lost to Valdosta in round 2.