Heritage not taking winless Apalachee lightly

CONYERS -- Despite being 4-0 in Region 8-AAAA and being ranked No. 8 in Class AAAA by the PrepCountry.com/GACA, Heritage is not looking past the winless Wildcats when the two go head-to-head today at 7:30 p.m.

"I think they're a very good football team. I know they're 0-3, but they've been very competitive," Heritage head coach Chad Frazier said. "They're traditionally strong and physically tough. They have a running back (Stanley Williams) who's already been offered by Georgia and he's already committed. He's faster than anybody we've got on our team. We are taking them very serious."

Instead of being 0-3, Apalachee could just as easily be 2-1 at this point in the season. Aside from their loss to Flowery Branch, who is ranked at No. 4, and to whom they lost by 22 points, the Wildcats have been on the edge of winning but just fell short. They lost to Habersham Central by a field goal (38-35) and were a touchdown back to Salem (14-7).

Besides Williams, Apalachee also has an experienced quarterback in Clint Ashe that the Patriots defense is going to have to pressure.

For them to do that Heritage is going to have to read their keys and make sure that they're set in the correct defense. But more importantly, the Patriots are going to have to be ready to react.

"He (Ashe) does a lot of audibles at the line of scrimmage based on what the defense shows, Plus they have a big offensive line," Frazier said. "They're going to come out with some unbalanced formations. We have to plan for that and keep containment. If we can keep him from getting outside on us we feel like we have a good chance of making plays on him."

When Heritage has the ball, the offensive line is going to have to keep the Wildcats defensive ends in check. Last year, the two defensive ends disrupted Heritage's offense as sophomores. Now that they're juniors they could be even more of a factor.

"They're both over 6 feet and over 200 pounds and they can run really well. They also have a strong safety (Jeremy Lotts) who's their leading tackler. He makes plays all over the field," Frazier said. "I think that on the offensive line we're better than last year. We match up well against their defensive ends. I like our speed match up so I feel confidence that if we do a good job blocking and if our backs can take care of the football we'll be in good shape.

"We need to have a fast start and build the momentum early. We need to play on their side of the field and not turn the ball over. Of course, blocking and tackling is always good."