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It’s back to work for Luella

Photo by Derrick Mahone
Drew is not sure how long it will be without starting quarterback Jay Murray, who sustained a Grade 1 concussion Saturday in the first quarter of the Titans’ 35-0 loss to top-ranked Sandy Creek at the Georgia Dome. Murray will see the doctor again Friday to evaluate his status for next week.

Photo by Derrick Mahone Drew is not sure how long it will be without starting quarterback Jay Murray, who sustained a Grade 1 concussion Saturday in the first quarter of the Titans’ 35-0 loss to top-ranked Sandy Creek at the Georgia Dome. Murray will see the doctor again Friday to evaluate his status for next week.

Luella coach Nic Vasilchek says his team’s 21-day layoff might have come out the best time of the season. The Lions, who are 3-0, open their Region 2-AAAAA schedule Friday against visiting East Coweta, which also has the same record.

While getting off to fast starts is nothing new at East Coweta, the Lions are 3-0 for only the second time in school history. The last coming in 2008, its sixth year of existence.

That season, Luella finished 7-4 and made its only appearance in the playoffs.

“We look at it as a luxury in having two weeks to prepare for East Coweta,” Vasilchek said. “By the time the game gets here Friday, we would have gotten 12 practices in.”

The coach said it was like a mini preseason practice for his team during the layoff. Last season, Vasilchek’s first, the team could only manage a 3-7 season.

With a fast start this season, Vasilchek he can see a more confident group.

“It has been great because it reinforces what we have been saying,” he said. “The kids see the proof about their hard work, and how it is paying off. The 3-0 record has been huge for our self-confidence.”

THE MEASURING STICK

While the 3-0 start has been huge for the team’s confidence, Vasilchek understands that the huge test will be this Friday against East Coweta.

Not only is it the team’s first region game, it is also the first game against a Class AAAAA oppponent. The wins over Villa Rica, Jones County and Eagle’s Landing were against teams from a lower classification.

The previous three opponents have a combined record of 3-9. East Coweta is a playoff-caliber team that has made the postseason 14 straight seasons, including 18 of the last 19 years.

“We will be facing a good quality opponent, who will offer a good measuring stick for us,” Vasilchek said. “We feel we can win at this level. In the past, we might have been selling them a dream, but now we hope to back it up with some reality. They are definitely a good test for us.”

NOT AT FULL STRENGTH

Drew coach Jarrett Laws had hoped to use his game against two-time defending state champion Sandy Creek as a measuring stick to see how far his team has come in a year.

The Titans lost 35-0 at the Georgia Dome to Sandy Creek, but Drew wasn’t at full strength. Titans junior quarterback Jay Murray, who had accounted for five touchdowns this season, was knocked out in the first quarter with a Grade 1 concussion.

“Good teams are able to make big plays,” Laws said. “We have things that we need to correct. We left the game with too many bullets in our gun.”

The Titans (2-2) are idle this week. Murray will be re-evaluated on Friday to see if he can resume practice next week.

Drew had to finish the game with sophomore Brandon Pearson at quarterback. It was only the third time in his life that he had played the position, and his first in a varsity game.

“It was a tough situation when your first game is on the floor at the Georgia Dome against the defending state champion,” Laws said.

STOCKBRIDGE AT NO. 9

For the first time since 1968, Stockbridge is ranked. The Tigers’ 31-7

victory over Spalding, following on the heels of a 62-0 spanking of North Springs and the real attention-getter — the season-opening 28-12 victory over Region 3-AAAA, Division A favorite Dutchtown — has given them a solid enough body of work to earn the mention from Georgia High School Football Daily.

Stockbridge coach Kevin Whitley says his team won’t be satisfied just to make the playoffs — or to be ranked in the fourth week of the season, for that matter.

“The expectation level is higher,” Whitley said.

REGION 3-AAAA WIDE OPEN

Here’s the week that can shape the flow of the Region 3-AAAA Division A race, and give us some idea where Dutchtown stands in the pecking order. The Bulldogs take on Jones County, which is coming off a stunning 21-7 victory over Griffin.

The Greyhounds will bring their Wing-T offense, which racked up 333 rushing yards on 67 carries against the Bears, who came into the season as one of the favorites on that side of the subregion. Jones County, winless entering the game, did all that without starting quarterback Nick Bentley, who was injured the week before in a 29-28 loss to McIntosh. Undre Williams picked up the slack, responsible for 188 of the rushing yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries.

If Dutchtown can defeat Jones County and Alcovy the week after that, it will be in prime position.

ROAD WARRIORS

Woodland has played two straight road games, losses to Starr’s Mill and, most recently Carrollton — in a 35-3 game in which it surrendered 26 first downs and 439 total yards. If ever there was a time to come home, it would be now . Right?

Hardly.

The Wolfpack is in the middle of a highly unusual five-game stretch on the road that continues Friday at Union Grove. The ’Pack also will travel to Griffin and Ola before returning home Oct. 14 to play Jones County.