The Rebels (3-2, 1-1 Region 4-AAA) got into the region win column with a 34-7 victory against Douglass and when they travel to Grady Stadium for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff against B.E.S.T. Academy they will need to use a similar game plan.
“A lot of similarities. They have a real fast, speedy quarterback and a very, very strong and athletic tailback just like Douglass did,” HC coach Alan Lane said.
But HC has to remember that the Eagles (1-2, 0-1) are a different team and they have to keep working in order to keep pushing towards the playoffs.
“It does help, but we also know a play here or there and it could have gone the other way too. We actually played a pretty good ball game team wise, mistake wise. It does help, but you have to remind yourself that one missed tackle or a missed block could be a big play for the other team,” Lane said.
Now with the region portion of the schedule under way the Rebels are hitting their stride at the right time. Haralson County rushed for over 300 yards while holding Douglass to minus-10 yards on the ground. Those numbers prove that Lane’s system is coming together.
“Every week we’re getting a little more confident in ourselves with some of the things we’re doing. Like the offensive line, we’re getting a little better. The secondary, we’re getting a little better, we actually had a pick for the first time all year long. That’s helping,” Lane said.
Winning is also helping. After a frustrating season-opening loss against Central the Rebels have won three of their last four including the last two in a row.
“You can’t gain any momentum unless you start to win ball games. Well, we’ve won a couple and we’re starting to feel a little better and we’re starting to mature a little bit. Just those little things good teams will do, we’re having less mistakes, less penalties, less big plays. That’s turning things over for us to be and look like a better ball club. We’re not playing any different now than we were in the beginning, it’s just some of the mistakes we’re ironing out,” Lane said.
The senior leadership has been instrumental to the improvements seen across the entire team. From quarterback Bryce Wrenn to the return of tight end/defensive end Seth Neeley, Lane Fortune and Nii-Okai Reindorf the experience has trickled down to the underclassmen.
“Two weeks ago [Reindorf] had a defensive show with 11 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and a blocked punt plus all the receptions and rushes he had. He didn’t do that this week, other people were doing that. His leadership that’s helping out to win ball games is spreading to where more kids make plays. It’s more of a team effort than a one-man effort,” Lane said.
The HC coach called last week’s game against Douglass a ‘must-win’ as the Rebels were looking for their first region win of the season. Now at 1-1 Lane isn’t backing down noting that his team can’t let up at any point this season.
“All of them are must-win right now. We must win every game in order to be in the playoffs,” Lane said. “We’re sort of playing off that we’re in the playoffs right now and we’re trying to get ourselves one week to the next. Each game is important to us,” Lane said.