The Golden Bears are reeling off a pair of tough losses to Riverwood and George Walton Academy and the extra week has given head coach Ryan Livezey a chance to correct mistakes he has seen on film and 14 days to build a game plan for Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy — the two-time defending 5-A champions — in their 2012 region opener this week. The game is Saturday night.
“We [weren’t] quite where we wanted to be after losing to a very good George Walton Academy team,” said Livezey, now in his seventh season as the Holy Innocents’ head coach. “We weren’t playing the physical kind of football we needed to be playing and made way too many mental mistakes.
“We [used] part of the bye week to focus on us and eliminate those mental mistakes. Then we definitely added in some extra game planning for a very good ELCA team.”
ELCA (3-1) is currently the No. 1 ranked team in Class A according to the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association poll. The Chargers are riding a three-game winning streak with lopsided victories over Briarwood Christian (32-7), Clinch County (47-20) and Hapeville Charter (56-14). Their only loss was a 24-19 setback to undefeated Washington County — the third-ranked team in Class AAA.
ELCA is led by Purdue University commit Keyante Green, a senior running back and four-year starter that Livezey said he is very familiar with from past games, and defensive end Isaac Rochell, who is committed to play at Notre Dame.
“The biggest challenge that those guys bring to the table is that they are so big and physical,” said Livezey of the talent on ELCA. “They line up in the spread but they are also very physical with a lot of downhill running. On defense it’s the same thing with big fast linebackers that can fill holes and really run.”
A year ago Holy Innocents’ and ELCA met in the 5-A championship game, and the Golden Bears forced five turnovers on defense to stay within striking distance of ELCA before eventually falling 21-17.
Livezey went on to say the keys to staying close in that game would be the same keys on Saturday night, with his team looking to limit errors on offense and needing to force turnovers on defense.
“They don’t make a ton of mistakes, so when they do we have to be sure to take advantage of it,” he said. “It’s going to take a great effort for us to stay with them, but as we all know anything can happen in any given game.”