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North Clayton coach likes that his team is flying ‘under the radar’ this season

Photo by Derrick Mahone
Lovejoy senior defensive backs Jermaine Hough (left) and Rico McWilliams are credited with helping the eighth-ranked Wildcats record their fifth shutout of the season in a 9-0 win over Jonesboro at Twelve Oaks Stadium.

Photo by Derrick Mahone Lovejoy senior defensive backs Jermaine Hough (left) and Rico McWilliams are credited with helping the eighth-ranked Wildcats record their fifth shutout of the season in a 9-0 win over Jonesboro at Twelve Oaks Stadium.

Aside from his team’s two losses, North Clayton first-year coach Max Wiltz likes the position his team has been in all season.

The Eagles, a perennial playoff team in Region 4-AAAA, has flown under the radar this season with Jonesboro and Lovejoy both making headlines.

“I want to stay under the radar,” Wiltz joked Monday evening. “I pretty much like the position we are in. Not much has been said about our team, which is good. This team needed to just focus on the football and not worry about the hype.”

North Clayton takes on Jonesboro, which is coming off its first loss of the season with a 9-0 setback to No. 8 Lovejoy. Jonesboro is still trying to clinch a homefield playoff game for the first round while North Clayton still has an outside shot if it can when Saturday’s game at Southern Crescent Stadium.

“Jonesboro is an excellent team with some good ball players,” Wiltz said. “There defense is good, and they execute real well. I can’t see nothing that I don’t like about that team.”

NEW GOALS

With only three games remaining in the season, Luella has to reset its goals after Friday’s 34-20 loss to Newnan.

With the loss, the Lions have been officially eliminated from the Class AAAAA playoff race.

Luella coach Nic Vasilchek said the team is now trying to salvage the season and finish with a winning record. The Lions started the season with a 3-0 record, its first since the 2008 season, but a tough stretch of games against ranked opponents East Coweta, Stephenson and M.L. King, and traditional playoff contender Newnan has now left the team with a 3-4 record.

“We were hoping not to have to reset our goals,” Vasilchek said. “We have to learn how to win those games against teams like Stephenson, M.L. King and East Coweta. I think this team proved that they weren’t scared of the competition, we just have to learn to win.”

Luella host Langston Hughes Friday for homecoming before finishing the season against Westlake (Oct. 28), which just upset East Coweta on its homecoming, and close against Newton on Nov. 4. Both the Westlake and Newton games are on the road.

SHUTOUTS

The five shutouts by Lovejoy this season is the most in school history. In 2001, Lovejoy had four shutouts en route to a 10-2 finish. The Wildcats have won 18 straight regular season games heading into Friday’s match up against winless Forest Park at Twelve Oaks Stadium. . . . Jonesboro’s 9-0 loss to Lovejoy was the first time since Oct. 30, 2009 that the Cardinals had been shutout when they loss 35-0 to North Clayton at Southern Crescent Stadium. The last time the Cardinals were shutout in a game at Twelve Oaks Stadium was 17-0 to North Clayton on Oct. 20, 2007.

SPOILER’S ROLE

Woodland hopes to play spoiler this week when it takes on Alcovy. Dutchtown prevented Alcovy from clinching a spot in the Region 3-AAAA championship game with its 32-24 victory last week, but the Tigers have another shot at qualifying for the region title game when they take on Woodland, which won the teams’ only previous meeting 18-16 last Oct. 22.

MILESTONE WIN

Union Grove wasn’t able to play spoiler last week against Griffin and as a result Griffin coach Steve DeVoursney recorded his milestone 100th victory with the Bears in the 42-14 win. DeVoursney, who has coached at Griffin since the beginning of the 2001 season, has a career record of 100-32 (.758 winning percentage), two of the victories coming against Union Grove.

SCORING TANDEM

The Eagle’s Landing Christian running back tandem of John Tatum and Keyante Green were responsible for four of the Chargers’ five touchdowns against Landmark Christian, though only three of those were on offense. Green, who ran for the first, had 112 yards on 13 carries. Tatum, credited with 79 yards, rushed for two more — but also scored a third touchdown, on defense, after stripping Landmark’s Garrison Adams, punctuating a 35-14 victory.