Heritage faces powerful foe in Habersham

CONYERS - There isn't anything that needs to be said to remind Heritage coach Chad Frazier of the caliber team he faces this week in Habersham Central.

The numbers speak for themselves.

The Raiders finished the regular season 8-1 with the only defeat a 31-28 loss to Stephens County in Week 2. It should also be noted that Habersham Central has a handful of future Division I football players that helped lead the Raiders to the 8-AAAA North title this season.

"They're loaded. They have a lot of good players at all the positions," Frazier said. "They play a 3-4 defense, and they're tough up front. Their linebackers are solid and their secondary is solid. They're smart football players and they're aggressive.

"They tackle well and they run the ball well. They do a lot of good things. They don't do a lot to try and fool you, they're just real sound and real good at what they do."

Habersham's defense is allowing just 11.8 points per game, while Heritage's defense is giving up an average of 23.8 points per game.

Frazier said his team will also have to slow down the Raiders' air attack, namely wide receiver Tavaris King.

"Offensively, it starts up front and they've got a real good offensive line. They've got a good quarterback that can throw it down field, and he's pretty accurate," Frazier said. "Tavaris King is amazing to watch. He may not be the best, but he's one of the best receivers that I've seen."

Offensively, the Raiders are averaging 36 points per game, while the Patriots are averaging 19.8

"They've only lost one game and the most points they've given up other than that game is 14," Frazier said. "Offensively, they haven't scored less than 28. Most of their point totals are in the 40s."

Despite the numbers, Frazier said the key to the game will come down to opportunities and execution.

"We've got to take advantage of opportunities. It's going to be hard to big-play them because they've got a lot of speed and they're so good at what they do," he said. "We're just going to have to take what they give us and not make any mistakes. We have to limit turnovers and penalties and execute assignments.

"Defensively, we've got a couple plans for King. We've got to be able to slow him down, but he's not the only one. Their quarterback is a player. They've also got some good running backs and other receivers. If we can slow down King and kind of contain the rest of them, we'll have a shot."

Brandon Evans can be reached at brandon.evans@rockdalecitizen.com.

SideBar: Heritage at Habersham

When: Today, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Raider Stadium, Mount Airy

The series: Habersham Central leads all-time series 7-3. Heritage has won three of the last four games.

Last week: Heritage beat Alcovy 28-24; Habersham Central beat Jackson County 41-6

Records: Heritage (3-6 overall, 1-4 8-AAAA South), Habersham Central (8-1 overall, 5-2 8-AAAA North)