Last year: Allatoona 37, Villa Rica 10
All-time series: Allatoona leads 2-0
Prediction: Allatoona 28, Villa Rica 7
One of the first things Allatoona talked about at practice this week was how the Buccaneers nearly fumbled away the game against East Paulding in the season opener.
They hope to play a much cleaner game this week on the road against Villa Rica.
“We were very lucky to come out with a win,” Allatoona coach Gary Varner said. “We were very lucky. I felt we put ourselves in bad situations and we had some unforced errors that obviously has to be cleaned up.”
Just about everything that could go wrong went wrong. They lost four fumbles, were penalized 80 yards, missed an extra point, missed a field goal, and a holding penalty negated a touchdown run.
Yet, Allatoona found a way to win.
After East Paulding scored three quick touchdowns early in the second half to take the lead. Allatoona embarked on a drive that nearly took 8 minutes before Russell Halimon scored on a 6-yard run to tie it.
Halimon is making a case to take over the starting position at running back after rushing for 211 yards against East Paulding. All-state running back Josh Bettistea was sidelined against East Paulding for undisclosed reasons and his status for tonight’s game is still uncertain.
Until Bettistea takes the field, Halimon is expected to get the majority of the carries.
“He’s a real good football player,” Varner said of Halimon. “He can play multiple positions for us and he ran strong (last Friday). He was two penalties away from getting 250 yards or more. He wasn’t a surprise for us far as his ability. We’re very happy with him.”
One of the bigger challenges for Allatoona this week is having to prepare for a spread offense instead of one that relies greatly on the running game. Varner said they will have to line up differently to make sure they match up with Villa Rica.
“The spread gave us problems last year,” he said. “We will get a big test in that area.”
— By Adam Carrington