East Coweta (1-2) at Lovejoy (2-1)
Indians' schedule no easier with trip to Lovejoy
by Doug Gorman
The East Coweta Indians can't be accused of playing an easy non-region schedule.
After losing to defending Class AAAA state champion Sandy Creek 54-35 last week at home, head coach Clint Wade's club jumps right back into the fire when it journeys to 12-Oaks Stadium to take on the Lovejoy Wildcats Friday in Hampton.
East Coweta enters on a twogame losing streak against a second consecutive state power.
After opening the season with a 49-8 victory over Henry County last month, the Indians fell 21-17 to Archer in a game they led late in the fourth quarter.
A year, ago, Lovejoy posted a 13-2 record, losing to Norcross in the Class AAAAAA title game inside the Georgia Dome.
The Wildcats come into the contest against East Coweta with a 2-1 record. Lovejoy's only loss came in a 17-13 defeat to Colquitt County.
Last week, however, the Wildcats had to survive a tough game at Alpharetta, winning 24-23.
East Coweta prepared for its game against Sandy Creek with plenty of distractions as it dealt with classmate Madeline McTier's death.
'There was a lot going on,' Wade said 'It was really hard to concentrate, not using that as an excuse, but it was a tough week for a lot of people.'
Despite their minds not fully being on football, the Indians' offense showed signs of life, especially in the second and fourth quarters.
After spotting the Patriots a 28-0 lead in the first quarter, East Coweta scored two touchdowns in the second quarter and 21 in the final 12 minutes of the game.
'I thought we showed some resilience by not giving up,' Wade said. 'It was kind of an ordeal, but we did a really good job of battling back.
East Coweta senior quarterback Bryce Gemmel heads into Friday's game against the Wildcats after a solid performance against the Patriots. The senior was 13 of 23 and threw three touchdown passes, including a 13 yarder to Jacob Bergstrom and 53 and 20 yard scoring strikes to EJ Ransom.
The Indians also got some help from Markel Boston on special teams with a 35-yard punt return.
East Coweta will need help help from all sides of the ball again this week if it hopes to pull off an upset.
The Wildcats are loaded with veterans an experience especially on the defensive side of the ball where linebacker Dee Gates and Randy Anyanwu have been the leading tacklers for Lovejoy the last few seasons.
One of the biggest questions marks heading into the season was at quarterback, where sophomore Quantarius Neely emerged as the starter.
East Coweta defense hopes to make it a long day for the Wildcats' quarterback who was playing junior varsity football at Mays High School last season.
A week, ago despite giving up 55 points, the Indians showed signs of being able to get to the quarterback.
The Indians Nick Fraser and Tyler Poythress each had a sack last week.
'We did a lot of good things last week, but we are still a long way from being where we need to be,' Wade said. 'That's all behind us, and we are looking forward to this week's game.'
Since East Coweta only plays in a region with five other schools, Wade was forced to go out and find five non-region opponents starting last year when the schedule was put in place on a home-and-home basis.
As it turned out, three of the five were state powers, including next's week's opponent Central of Oxford, Ala.
'It is what it is' Wade said. 'We have to compete and get after it. We just have to get better and execute. If we can do that, it is going to help us down the road.'
Wade says the key to pulling off the upset against Lovejoy is looking in the mirror.
'We have to worry about what we do,' he said. 'There are no gimmicks and trick plays that are going to solve the problem. It's fundamentals and its execution. It's team work and those are the things that we are stressing.'