Spalding’s chance for retribution for one of the bookend overtime losses comes in 24 hours when the Jags travel to Locust Grove to take on the Wildcats on the same field in a Region 4-AAAA crossover game this time.
“I really don’t look at it as payback,” said Davis. “I look at it as an opportunity for us to improve this year and get one step closer to our goal by winning our next game, which is our most important game, and it is also a region game, even though it’s a crossover. And that’s our goal — to win all our region games.”
Spalding trailed 17-0 against the Wildcats last year before rallying to to send the game into overtime where Locust Grove scored a touchdown and SHS drove to the Wildcats’ 1-yard line but had to move back because of an illegal motion penalty.
“That one we really gave it to them right there at the end,” said Davis. “Not taking anything away from them — they did an outstanding job — but it was more so us than it was them, I feel.”
Both teams come into this year’s game with a head of steam, Spalding (1-0-1 overall, 0-0 Region 4-AAAA Div. B) undefeated and the Wildcats (2-1 overall, 0-0 Region 4-AAAA Div. A) riding the four-year-old school’s first win streak in school history since beginning region play in 2010.
“We’ve got everyone healthy and we’re coming off back-to-back wins for the first time since we’ve been playing a region schedule,” said Locust Grove head coach Clint Satterfield, who has guided the Wildcats since the school opened its doors in 2009.
Since dropping the season opener 25-21 to Union Grove, the Wildcats have reeled off wins of 35-28 against Ola two weeks ago and 34-6 most recently against Morrow.
Friday’s game marks Spalding’s first road game this season. Idle last week, the Jags opened the season with a 3-all tie against then Class AA No. 2 state-ranked Lamar County three weeks ago and a 20-13 win in its last outing two weeks ago against Rutland.
The Jags scored their first three touchdowns of the season against Rutland. The first came on a 24-yard pass from Powell Krepps to Anthony Bush, while the second came on a 46-yard interception return by Garrett Bell and the third came on a 77-yard kickoff return by Brandon Thomas.
While Spalding — averaging a subregion-low 11 ppg — is coming off its most productive game of the season scoring, Locust Grove’s triple-option spread offense has been hot the last two weeks. Led by quarterback Keenan Wise’s 314 all-purpose yards last week, the Wildcats are on a roll averaging a subregion-leading 30 ppg.
Rounding out there attack are wideout Cortez McDowell (7 TDs), who is getting looks from Syracuse and North Carolina State, and fullback Garrett Wallace who has back-to-back 100-yard games. McDowell, it should be noted not only scored on a 97-yard reception and 11-yard run last week, but he also had a 70-yard punt return called back.
“They are very explosive on offense,” said Davis, who scouted Locust Grove’s game last week against Ola in person. “They have a great receiver in the McDowell kid and a great quarterback in Keenan Wise, very athletic, and the offensive line looks to be strong.”
Trying to stop them is a Spalding defense allowing a subregion-leading 8 ppg against. Locust Grove counters with a defense yielding 19 ppg.
“Defensively, they’re just scrappy,” Davis said of Locust Grove. “They don’t give up big plays. They make you drive the football and earn everything you get.”
REGION 4-AAAA STANDINGS
School Region Overall PF PA
Stockbridge 0-0 2-1-0 15 11
Dutchtown 0-0 2-1-0 28 19
Locust Grove 0-0 2-1-0 30 19
Woodland-Stock. 0-0 1-2-0 18 20
E. Landing 0-0 0-3-0 29 36
School Region Overall PF PA
Griffin 1-0 3-0-0 37 18
Riverdale 1-0 3-0-0 23 9
Spalding 0-0 1-0-1 11 8
Upson-Lee 0-0 1-2-0 24 27
Jonesboro 0-1 2-1-0 33 17
North Clayton 0-1 0-3-0 14 29
This Week's Games
Spalding at Locust Grove
Griffin at Woodland-Stockbridge
Riverdale at Dutchtown
Central-Macon at Upson-Lee
Jonesboro at E. Landing
North Clayton at Stockbridge
Last Week's Games
Griffin 34, Jonesboro 33
Upson-Lee 31, Eagle's Landing 29
Northgate 29, North Clayton 8
Riverdale 28, Grady 14
Dutchtown 35, Luella 10
Locust Grove 34, Morrow 6
Woodward Acad. 28, Woodland-Stock. 13
Stockbridge 34, Columbia 8