By Doug Gorman
It's only week three of the high school football season, but the struggles of the Lovejoy High School football team has sent shock waves throughout the Southern Crescent.
Picked as one of the top Class AAAAA teams in the state, and one of the favorites to capture the Region 4-AAAAA title, Lovejoy is off to an 0-2 start, losing to Mt. Zion and North Clayton to open the 2004 campaign.
For the third week in a row, Lovejoy faces a Clayton County rival when it meets Riverdale Friday night at Twelve Oaks. Riverdale will be the home team on the scoreboard.
Riverdale comes into the game with a 1-1 record. Like the Wildcats, the Raiders also lost to North Clayton. The Raiders got themselves back on track against Morrow last week, beating the Mustangs 24-0.
It was the first win at Riverdale for head coach Nick Davis, who replaced Rodney Hackney. Hackney resigned to take the head coaching job at Osborne.
Davis knows his team will face a tough challenge against a Lovejoy team desperate for a victory.
"Lovejoy is a quality football team," he said. "The game is at Twelve Oaks, and that is sort of their backyard."
In its game against Morrow, Riverdale led 10-0 at the end of the first half, and then scored two touchdowns in the second half.
In final two quarters, Riverdale kept control of the football, including for nine minutes on one of its scoring drives.
Riverdale could have put more points on the scoreboard in the game, but turn the ball over twice in the first half after driving deep into Morrow territory.
"We turned the ball over too many times in the first half. It was nothing they did, we just shot ourselves in the foot," Davis said after last week's win.
Lovejoy comes into the third game of the season seeking to rediscover its high-power offense of past years.
Through its first two games, Lovejoy has been outscored 67-13.
Turnovers were one of the Wildcats' biggest problems last Friday as the team lost possession of the football four times on fumbles.