CONYERS - There are two numbers that stand out when looking at Friday night's matchup between Salem and Monroe Area.
The Seminoles (1-2) are averaging 5.7 points per game, while the Purple Hurricanes (0-3) are surrendering 30 points per game.
One of those numbers will have to change when Salem pays a visit to Monroe Area at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Purple Pit.
"We need to be more consistent on offense. A few big plays would not hurt," Salem coach Chad Estes said. "We knew that there was going to be a learning curve from last year because of losing so many starters, but I can see improvement being made every day."
Last week, the Seminoles fell behind 7-0 early against Loganville before Joseph Schneider's 25-yard field with 9:37 left in the game provided the game-winning points in a 10-7 victory. Salem's offense finally produced some points after failing to generate anything in its first two games.
"We got down 7-0 right out of the game," Estes said. "But we showed great determination and heart for the remainder of the game. We need to control the ball on offense (Friday) and we can't give up the big play on defense."
Last week, Salem's defense turned in a strong effort. After Loganville scored on its first possession, the Seminoles kept the Red Devils off the scoreboard for the rest of the game.
Salem held Loganville to 29 total yards and three first downs in the first half.
When Estes looks across the field, he'll see a familiar face on the opposite sideline - former boss Matt Fligg - who is now the football coach at Monroe Area.
Estes served as the defensive coordinator on Fligg's coaching staff at Rockdale from 1996-2001. During that time, Rockdale had a record of 35-28, won a region championship and made two state playoff appearances.
However, Estes doesn't feel that previous coaching relationship will give either coach an advantage in Friday's game.
"I don't think so," he said. "We have different teams now and these are different times."
In looking at Monroe Area, one thing stands out for Estes - the Purple Hurricanes' speed.
"They are a quarterback-driven offense. Their quarterback runs the ball very well," he said. "Defensively, they are going to put pressure on our offense."
This game could also serve as a launching pad to get the Seminoles back into the playoff hunt in Region 8-AAAA. With eight weeks left in the season, eight of the 11 squads have at least one or two losses.
Salem will reach the halfway point of its season next week at home against Madison County.
Friday night's clash will mark the first time that Salem and Monroe Area have played each other in football.
Jeff Gillespie can be reached at email@example.com.
SideBar: Salem at Monroe
· When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
· Where: The Purple Pit, Monroe
· Series: First meeting