In their first three games, the Buccaneers (3-0, 3-0) defeated each region opponent by double digits and an average of 16 points a game.
“I think we’ve done well so far,” Allatoona coach Gary Varner said. “Everyone kind of felt (moving to Class AAAAA) would be a big change. It’s definitely different a little bit, but for the most part, we felt like we were in a real good region last year with some really good teams.
“We felt we were ready for the change,” said Varner, whose team competed in Region 7AAA(B) last season. “So right now we’re just really trying to focus on us and what we need to do to try to get better.”
And after defeating Rome 39-17 a week ago, Allatoona will hope to continue improving against the Lions, who are coming off a 27-13 loss to North Paulding.
“I thought we played pretty well overall last Friday,” Varner said. “We had some bad breakdowns on special teams so hopefully, we can get those fixed, but the defense played well.”
Allatoona’s special teams allowed two touchdowns, but the defense gave up just a field goal. T.J. Herron led the offense with 145 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
Herron, who has 302 yards rushing and seven touchdowns over the first three games, has teammed well in the backfield with Josh Beautista, who has run for 327 yards and five touchdowns.
While Varner expects Lithia Springs to be fast and physical on defense like Rome was last week, he said he doesn’t think the Lions’ 0-2 record is that far from being 2-0 or 1-1.
“They haven’t won, but they’ve kind of made mistakes and shot themselves in the foot,” he said. “I think the games have been a lot closer than the score, so we’re just trying to show our kids on tape how they run and they hit and how they compete every down.”
Lithia Springs lost its opener 14-0 to New Manchester.
Along with two talented linebackers and a safety, Varner also mentioned that the Lions have a dual-threat quarterback with the ability to pass and run effectively.
“(Sammy Cornelius) is going to be a problem,” Varner said.
Cornelius completed 11 of 31 passes for 249 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions against North Paulding.
Just like against Woodland-Bartow, Paulding County and Rome, this will be the first time Allatoona meets Lithia Springs.