Drew, Locust Grove face Region 4-AAA tests

Photo by Derrick Mahone
In leading Drew to a 1-1 record to start the season, Titans quarterback Jay Murray has accounted for five touchdowns in his first season as a starter.

Photo by Derrick Mahone In leading Drew to a 1-1 record to start the season, Titans quarterback Jay Murray has accounted for five touchdowns in his first season as a starter.

For Drew and Locust Grove, a pair of schools playing their second season of a varsity schedule, the big test comes for them this week.

After opening the season with some traditional playoff contenders, both will start their eight-game Region 4-AAA schedule this week.

Drew travels to Griffin to take on Spalding Thursday while Locust Grove hosts Eastside on Friday.

“I can’t really measure where we are at now,” Drew coach Jarrett Laws said. “Thursday we will find out where we are at as a team, because it is a region game.”

The Titans come into the contest with a 1-1 record. They opened a lot of eyes around the state with an one-point loss to Cairo on the road. Last weekend, Drew defeated Episcopal of Florida 56-28 at Tara Stadium.

Locust Grove will enter its region schedule with a 0-2 record after consecutive trips to South Georgia to take on Class AAAAA opponents Tift County and Coffee.

The Wildcats lost to Tift County (41-7) and Coffee (34-7). Locust Grove coach Clint Satterfield said the score in the Coffee game is not a true picture of how his team played.

In the Coffee game, Locust Grove was down 13-7 entering the fourth quarter, but Trojans standout running back Tony Clark scored three touchdowns.

“We got a little better from Week 1 to Week 2,” Satterfield said. “I felt we haven’t given up. It was obvious that their size and speed took its toll on us. It doesn’t get any easier as we have to face a good Eastside team. They look outstanding on defense.”

Satterfield is hoping those trips down South will benefit his team in the long run.

“We learned what it was all about in turns of playing in front of a big crowd and against a good team,” he said. “It is good experienced for these guys as we continue to build our program. We looked down the throat of a giant, and we are hoping to gain from that experience.”

How far has his team come from a 2-8 record last season is what Laws is hoping to learn against Spalding.

What Laws is encouraged about is the play of junior quarterback Jay Murray, who has accounted for five touchdowns in the first two games.

He had a breakout game last week against Episcopal. Murray passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more in the win at Tara Stadium.

“He is a kid that came to our 7 a.m. quarterback practices everyday willing to learn,” Laws said. “He is the type of kid that speaks my language. He wants to win.”

Spalding, which is under first-year coach Nick Davis, is also 1-1 in its two non-region games to start the season. The Jaguars lost 3-0 in overtime to Class AAAA powerhouse Griffin in its opener.

Last week, Spalding defeated LaGrange 28--21 for the first win in the Davis coaching era. Prior to taking the Spalding job, Davis coached at Riverdale.

Rankings: Despite its 23-14 win over Henry County last week, Eagle’s Landing Christian dropped two spots in the recent Associated Press poll.

The Chargers went from the second spot to No. 4 in the Class A poll. Henry County is a Class AAA school that is expected to challenge for a playoff spot in Region 4 this season.

ELCA travels to Class AA Manchester this weekend.

It is the first round game of the season for the Chargers, who opened at home against Alabama powerhouse Briarwood Christian with a 21-18 loss. Last season, Briarwood played for the Class AAAAA championship.