The seventh-ranked Buccaneers (8-0, 8-0 in Region 5AAAAA) have a challenging road trip ahead of them, starting tonight at North Paulding before ending the regular season at East Paulding.
The Buccaneers haven’t been playing their best football of late. The offense has gotten off to slow starts, and last week they were taken to overtime by Hiram before finding a way to win 20-17.
“It’s a big game for us because of all the playoff seedings involved,” Allatoona coach Gary Varner said. “We could be looking at a second or third seed if we lose the game and that could be a big problem for us. North Paulding is playing well and scoring a lot of points.”
It’s the little mistakes that’s allowing Allatoona’s opponents to stay in games, such as communication breakdowns and players not lining up in the correct positions. While the Buccaneers avoided turning the ball over against Hiram, they did have 10 penalties for 100 yards.
Allatoona’s biggest penalty in the game could have resulted in a loss. Hiram was attempting a game-winning 55-yard field goal before the Buccaneers were flagged, putting the Hornets 5 yards closer to attempt another kick.
The result could have been different had Allatoona not blocked the field-goal attempt.
“We just seem to be in a funk (offensively) lately,” Varner said. “We would have careless mistakes and mental mistakes that would put us in bad situations.”
The Buccaneers will have to finish against the Wolfpack, a rising program and potential future rivalry headed by former Kennesaw Mountain coach Scott Jones. The teams played four times in 2008 and 2009 while they were in their initial building stages and the seres is tied at two games apiece.
For Allatoona to emerge victorious, the Buccaneers are looking to establish the run against North Paulding, but with a sizeable defensive line led by Michael Barday, Varner said the Buccaneers may consider other options.
Quarterback Jeremy Uzee can throw the ball when he needs to with Tommy Davis, Clarence Soleberry and Cody Sorrells being some of his targets.
But the Buccaneers are looking to stick with what works. They rushed for 220 yards last week. T.J. Herron is looking for another huge showing after rushing for 185 yards on 20 carries. Josh Beautista should also get plenty of touches, having rushed for 131 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown.