CONYERS - Salem and Heritage square off tonight in a battle for county bragging rights.
For Salem (6-1 overall, 3-0 Region 8-AAAA South), a win means the Seminoles stay undefeated in region play and win the annual Conyers Cup Championship.
Just as important for the Seminoles is what lies ahead - a home game in the Region 8-AAAA playoffs on Nov. 9 and an 8-AAAA South championship game next Friday against Cedar Shoals at Evans Memorial Stadium.
Meanwhile, Heritage (2-5 overall, 0-3 Region 8-AAAA South) is hoping to upset the Seminoles and notch its first subregion victory.
Despite the difference in each team's record, Salem coach Chad Estes is aware of the potential the Patriots possess.
"They've got a good quarterback and several good receivers and running backs that they throw the ball to. We're very concerned about their offensive weapons," Estes said. "I think they are very sound defensively. Even though they've given up a lot of points, I thought they did a very good job against good teams like Cedar Shoals. They were up at halftime against them. We've got to come out and play one of our best games."
Estes said he feels like the outcome of the game will be based on who wins the war in the kicking game and turnovers.
"We don't want to be a team that makes mistakes, and we don't want to turn the ball over," Estes said. "I also think the kicking game is going to big. It's one of those rivalry games. Anything can happen."
Heritage coach Chad Frazier is also wary of the Seminoles' talent level.
"We're going to have our hands full this week. They're big, and they're fast," Frazier said. "I think we match up well with them in some areas, but, overall, they've got a very good football team. Still, I think we've got a good game plan this week. We feel good about the game, and we're looking forward to it."
Frazier said the keys for his team will be simply blocking and tackling well.
"Defensively, we've got to line up correctly and tackle well," he said. "Offensively, we've got to do a good job up front. We've got to be solid on the offensive line."
Heritage holds the all-time series lead at 7-6, but the Seminoles have won four straight matchups.
Salem is averaging 24.7 points per game with a defense that is giving up just 8.3 points per game. Heritage's offense is averaging 18.7 with a defense that is allowing 23.4.
Brandon Evans can be reached at email@example.com.
SideBar: Salem vs. Heritage
When: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Reid Memorial Stadium
Series: Heritage holds the all-time series lead at 7-6. Salem won last year 14-3.
Last week: Heritage lost to Eastside 36-29; Salem beat Rockdale 45-6
Records: Salem Seminoles (6-1 overall, 3-0 in Region 8-AAAA South), Heritage Patriots (2-5, 0-3)