County’s unbeatens show their might with victories
by Carlton D. White
cwhite@mdjonline.com
September 22, 2013 12:32 AM | 2178 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Few teams in the state have had as strong a start as Kameron Pena and his Allatoona teammates have shown, with three shutouts among their four wins. But despite that dominance, Buccaneers coach Gary Varner knows the challenges that lay ahead — particularly next week at fellow unbeaten South Paulding.
<BR>Special photo by Al Eckford
Few teams in the state have had as strong a start as Kameron Pena and his Allatoona teammates have shown, with three shutouts among their four wins. But despite that dominance, Buccaneers coach Gary Varner knows the challenges that lay ahead — particularly next week at fellow unbeaten South Paulding.
Special photo by Al Eckford
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Three of the county’s four unbeatens put their season-opening streaks on the line Friday, and none were really tested in earning convincing victories and maintaining their undefeated marks.

McEachern, Kell and Allatoona joined idle Hillgrove in remaining unbeaten on the season. The Indians topped Marietta 43-30, while the Longhorns downed Creekview 32-7 and the Buccaneers routed Lithia Springs 49-0.

The best seem to just keep getting better as the calendar rolls into fall.

“Our goal is to go 1-0 each week,” said Kell coach Derek Cook, whose Class AAAAA No. 4 Longhorns are 4-0.

“We’re aware of the rankings, but we preach as a staff that these games don’t help us each week unless we learn from them. We move on after what we learn to get ready for the next game. The rankings are good to have, and being undefeated is good for morale, but we don’t look at our success except as a means to get better for the next game.”

Kell has handled its business well so far, opening the season with double-digit wins over Class AAAAAA schools Chattahoochee, Woodstock and Lassiter. Creekview also proved to be no match for the Longhorns in a Region 7AAAAA crossover game, with the Longhorns taking a 32-0 lead before the reserves allowed the Grizzlies’ lone touchdown.

McEachern (4-0), ranked No. 2 in Class AAAAAA, hasn’t been tested either. The Indians have double-digit victories over Brookwood, Lassiter and Pebblebrook and pulled away from Marietta in the second quarter Friday, en route to its 13-point win.

McEachern led the Blue Devils 30-9 at halftime.

Allatoona (4-0) had several questions surrounding its team entering the 2013 campaign — notably, the graduation of several seniors that left the Buccaneers with young and inexperienced starters littering their lineup.

All Allatoona has done is post three shutouts in four games and outscore its Region 5AAAAA opponents 183-14. The Buccaneers are ranked eighth in Class AAAAA.

“I don’t think we feel any expectations to live up to the rankings,” Allatoona coach Gary Varner said. “I’m not sure the kids feel it either. They’re more concerned with who we’re playing that week. We know we don’t win games just by putting our helmets on. There’s work that goes into everything that we do.

“Some of the games have depended on us getting some good breaks early that helped us get going, and things went from there. We’ll have a better idea of where we stand as a team and how good we are in the next two weeks. I don’t see us as a dominant team yet.”

In the next two weeks, Allatoona will face another unbeaten in South Paulding, and New Manchester, which has started the season 4-1.

Kell has North Springs and Riverwood coming up, while McEachern will entertain Kennesaw Mountain and Campbell. Hillgrove has Campbell and Pebblebrook on its slate.

“I think a big key for all of these teams is that we’re all playing great defense,” Cook said. “You have to give credit to that side of the ball. They give us the ball back a lot to get our offenses more chances and they make great plays.

“Another key to our success is great preparation. Guys are ready when they go out there and take care of their responsibilities.”
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