Game: Whitefield Academy (5-3, 1-0) at Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (5-3, 0-0), 7:30 p.m.
Last meeting: ELCA 61, Whitefield 6 (Sept. 30, 2011)
All-time series: ELCA leads 6-2
Prediction: ELCA 35, Whitefield 21
Similar to last season, Whitefield Academy finds itself in the role of the underdog as it looks to compete for a region championship when it travels to take on Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy in a clash that will ultimately determine the Region 2A-Private title.
Last year, the Wolfpack sported an undefeated sub-region record entering their penultimate regular season battle against Fellowship Christian. A victory would have put them into the region title game, but the Wolfpack fell short in last year’s quest, making Whitefield coach Coleman Joiner excited for the opportunity to play for the crown again.
“We understand what’s at stake,” Joiner said. “Our focus all week will be on how we play and how we take care of our business. For us to be in this position is a great opportunity that we hope we can take advantage of.
“We’re going to have to be a physical team. We know this is a challenge and it’s going to be hard, but these guys have been working hard all season. Friday is another chance to play for each other and to put forth a ton of effort.”
ELCA won’t make it easy for Whitefield. The five-time defending state champion Chargers had a bye week last week, giving them the chance to scout Whitefield’s game against Landmark Christian.
“It’s okay they got to scout us in person,” Joiner said. “We do it, too. They have a great staff over there, and whether they saw us or not, we traded film with them so we’ve seen what they can do. They’ll have a plan for what we can do, we’ll have a plan for what they do.”
Whitefield’s plan will have to be a good one with Eagle’s Landing Christian averaging 25.3 points per game while holding opponents to 14.1. The Chargers three losses came against schools Class AAA or higher. They have three shut outs on the season and only gave up 7 points in their more recent victory two weeks ago.
“(ELCA is) extremely fast, aggressive and violent on defense,” Joiner said. “They’re defense is their strength. They have athletes everywhere. They’re always in position and they flow to the ball really well.
“Offensively, they’re different from some of their previous teams. They’ve done some tweaks and moved to more of a spread offense and less of the power they used to have. They’re throwing the ball a little more, but they still score a lot. We know we’re going to have our hands full.”
Whitefield can’t make mistakes and must play a near-perfect game with no turnovers to have its best chance at winning, according to Joiner. “We have the strength and the size,” he said. “If we can play fast and play hard, we can give ourselves a chance in the fourth quarter and see what happens.”