“A part of setting up that tough first couple of games was to really see where we were at,” Luella coach Nic Vasilchek said. “To see who could compete and see what we needed to do. Getting beat like that kind of helped our guys get refocused.”
The Lions lost to Lowndes 42-2 then Langston Hughes 35-0.
But five games since then, Luella appears to be a much improved team and will have a chance to validate that notion Friday against Lovejoy at Twelve Oaks Stadium in a Region 2-AAAAAA battle.
“We didn’t fare as well as we hoped against a top-level team at the beginning of the season so this is another chance to see where we are at,” Vasilchek said. “Try to get an upset.”
Such a feat will be tough against the top-10 ranked Wildcats, who have won five straight games and held their last three opponents to single digits.
“They’re a fantastic team and well-coached,” Vasilchek said. “[Al Hughes] has been there a long time. They are loaded with athletes and they’ve won all of those region games in a row. We’re excited about the opportunity to play them on their homecoming.”
Last year when these teams met for the first time, Lovejoy coasted to a 60-0 win.
“They can run and throw the ball pretty well,” Vasilchek said. “We have to really make sure we limit the big plays. Defensively, they stay in the same defense and dare you to find a way to beat them.”
The Lions have also been impressive defensively in their last two games, shutting out Druid Hills and defeating Rockdale County 28-14 last week. Jaylon Harris and Sal Vazquez returned interceptions for touchdowns and Steve Osondu recovered a fumble and made his way to the end zone.