From Staff Reports
A year ago, Dutchtown was 1-1 after its first two weeks, playing two close games decided by 4 points combined. This year, the Bulldogs are 2-0 and defeating opponents by an average of 18 points.
A year ago, Woodland traveled to Worth County and lost 35-18, then won four straight games. Last Friday, the Wolfpack got revenge beating the Rams 31-13 behind a virtuoso performance from a sophomore quarterback. And that favorable stretch in its schedule is ahead.
The second week of high school football was for those looking for revenge. Last year, Mt. Zion lost to Shiloh 21-13; they dominated Shiloh 40-10 on Saturday. Last year, Banneker dealt North Clayton its only regular season loss, a 21-20 set-back. The Eagles easily defeated Banneker 28-6 this weekend.
Whether it was Ola beating Luella (29-28) or Lovejoy defeating Riverdale (14-3), it was a week for payback.
Which for some teams meant it was also a week for making a statement about the direction of their program.
Those who made the biggest statements: Ola, Dutchtown and Woodland.
Consider the Mustangs' first four games this season: at Union Grove, Luella, at Griffin, North Clayton. Each made the playoffs last season. Each scored over 40 points against Ola last season. So defeating Luella last Friday was a strong statement.
Notes from around the Southern Crescent:
Woodland coach Scott Schmitt didn't shy away from using a sophomore quarterback last season to help spark the Wolfpack offense, and he isn't shying away from using another one this season.
Sophomore David Williams scorched Worth County's defense Friday night. Williams was 18-for-30 for 292 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Wolfpack (1-1) comes out of its non-region schedule with just one loss and four opponents awaiting that Woodland defeated last season.
The big question for Mt. Zion (2-0) coming into this season was how to replace wide receiver Drexel Copeland. Often last season, then-coach Jarrett Laws would say his Bulldogs wasted too much time waiting for Copeland to make a play.
But the question of how to replace Copeland seems mute now with the emergence of running back Quarterrio Morgan.
Morgan rushed for 207 yards on 24 carries with two touchdowns in Mt. Zion's 40-10 victory over Shiloh on Saturday.
It was the second consecutive week Morgan eclipsed the 200-yard mark. Last week, Morgan ran for 201 yards in the Bulldogs' season-opener against Lovejoy.
'All On Me'
After Stockbridge quarterback Antonio Anthony threw four interceptions in the second half of the Tigers' 21-6 loss to Union Grove, new coach Kevin Whitley took responsibility for the barrage of turnovers that let a close game get away.
"I've got to help him by calling some better plays," Whitley said. "I think I'm putting him in situations where he's not comfortable doing some things. Put it all on me. It isn't him. I just have to get him better."
In the first half, Anthony was 3-for-5 passing for 44 yards and rushed for a touchdown. Anthony's first three passes of the second half were picked off by Union Grove, one when a receiver tipped the ball into the hands of an awaiting Wolverines defensive back.
The three interceptions led to 14 points for Union Grove.
And yet Whitley rightly noted that if not for those turnovers, Stockbridge (0-2) held its own with Union Grove (2-0).
"It was a close enough game to owhere we were in the game," Whitley said. "We're talking about traditionally the best team in Henry County. We were right there. Little old Stockbridge was right there."
Union Grove running back Donovan Johnson, a first-team All-Southern Crescent selection a year go, sat out the Wolverines' game at Stockbridge Friday night with a high ankle sprain, according to coach Steven Collins.
But Collins said Johnson "is good to, but we wanted to hold him out until he's totally well."
Without Johnson, the Wolverines' rushing attack sputtered, even with sophomore back-up T.J. Moon taking most of the carries.
Take away a 79-yard touchdown run by quarterback/wide receiver Jordan Akins and Union Grove (2-0) averaged 3.8 yards a carry.
Dutchtown head coach Jason Galt doesn't have to worry too much about his ground game heading into Friday night's contest against Stockbridge.
In its first two games, the Bulldogs (2-0) have chalked up 814 yards of rushing offense, including in last week's victory on the road at Lee County where the team rushed for 509 yards.
The Ola football team beat Mt. Zion last season, in what was arguably its biggest victory in school history at the time. Friday night, Ola, which has only had 10 games in school history, shocked Luella to move to 1-1.
Ola kept the ball totally on the ground for its 29-28 victory, rushing 63 times for 343 yards. Trey McBride led the way for the Mustangs with 144 yards. Ryan Arnold had 89 yards on 16 carries, and Jamal Edmonds had 14 rushes for 61 yards.