By Doug Gorman
After two straight losses to open the season, the Lovejoy Wildcats (2-2) are finally playing the kind of football their fans have grown to expect over the last few seasons.
Lovejoy, which was ranked in the Class AAAAA preseason AP football poll to start the season, lost 20-15 to Mt. Zion in the opener and 47-0 to North Clayton in week No.-2 of the season.
The tide has since turned, and with Lovejoy beating Riverdale 23-0 and Morrow 37-12, the Wildcats are starting to click on all cylinders as they hit the road for tonight's game against No.-5 ranked Starr's Mill.
"We were kind of behind the eight ball with injuries at the start of the season," said Lovejoy coach Al Hughes. "We are 33-6 over the last three years, but everybody remembers the first two games, but we have regrouped and we are pleased with the way things have gone the past two games."
The challenge for Lovejoy is going to be stopping Starr's Mill's potent offense, including fullback Kyle McCreary.
The Panthers have scored at least 20 points in all five of their victories. Starr's Mill's biggest challenge has come in its last two games. The Panthers beat Tri-Cities (23-13) and Union Grove (28-14) last week.
"We have to stop their fullback," said Hughes. "He is sort of a throw-back player. He is a hard-noised runner."
Lovejoy prides itself on a quick-strike, aggressive offensive. This week, a ball-control offense might benefit the Wildcats in an effort to keep Star's Mill off the field.
The Wildcats come into the game fresh from a week off.
In its last outing against Morrow, Lovejoy's Mario Fannin finished with 87 yards and Octavius Edge followed with 70.
In its game against Union Grove last week, Starr's Mill was led by the rushing effort of McCreary, who rushed for 176 yards.