Game: Allatoona (7-0, 6-0) at Lassiter (2-6, 2-4), 7:30 p.m.
Last meeting: First meeting
All-time series: First meeting
Prediction: Allatoona 28, Lassiter 6
Allatoona’s defense continues to be relentless.
The Buccaneers, who are perfect on the season, have given up an average of 6.8 points a game and has just limited Kell and Sprayberry, two high-octane offenses in Region 6AAAAAA, to 15 points or less.
An Allatoona win at Lassiter tonight would seal a Region 6AAAAAA title.
While the Buccaneer defenders are known for creating turnovers and scoring before getting off the field, they can also apply pressure to the backfield. They had five sacks against Kell last week.
That success can be attributed to a player many may not be familiar with – nose guard James Watts.
While he does have 18 tackles and two sacks on the season, his stats is not what he is known for. His primary duty is jamming up the offensive line so linebackers behind can pressure the backfield.
“With James, you have to be strong up the middle,” Allatoona coach Gary Varner said. You set the tone and set the anchor, and it allows everyone around you to get the accolades and the stats. He makes offensive lines account for him all the time, which allows linebackers to be accounted for. When you’re that strong and people worry about you, it changes the way people block.”
Watts often makes the job of middle linebacker Kevin Kesser easier.
He’s tied for second with Ty Thompson and Shukrani Ooko for second with 28 tackles and also has two sacks and an interception.
Kesser also started last season during Allatoona’s run to the state championship game, and Varner said he has made great strides since then. That experience helped him get battle-tested and has a far better understanding of the game this season.
“The game has slowed down for him. He understands what offenses are trying to do,” Varner said. “Last year, he was a first-year starter, and things were moving at a rapid pace. This year, he’s been in all the situations, and more importantly, he knows the game well. He understands blocking concepts, which allows him to play so much faster.”