The Buccaneers (5-0,3-0 in Region 7AAAAA) are looking to be more disciplined, especially on defense, when they host New Manchester in a Region 7AAAAA game tonight, coach Gary Varner said.
A couple of blown assignments on defense evaporated a 14-0 Allatoona lead. South Paulding scored on a 50-yard touchdown and a 16-yard strike in a 5-minute span to tie the game. They needed two fourth- quarter touchdowns to get by South Paulding 28-14.
“We had some kids out of position, and (South Paulding) took advantage of it,” Varner said. “They had two big plays that put them back into the game.”
To Allatoona’s credit, the Buccaneers came up with a big play of their own when Jeremy Uzee hit Cody Sorrells for a 48-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown to get the lead back. And once Allatoona re-established momentum, the Buccaneers scored again on a 26-yard run by Tommy Davis.
In moving forward, Allatoona isn’t taking tonight’s home game against New Manchester, a second-year program, for granted, which means the Buccaneers are looking for more big plays and less mental mistakes.
Varner, who launched Allatoona’s program in 2008, said the Jaguars are making strides quickly. New Manchester (2-4) opened the season with consecutive victories before dropping its last four contests.
“They’re in their second year playing and are already a year or so ahead of where we were our second year.” Varner said. “They have seniors who are doing well for them and are athletic in a lot of positions. On film, they don’t look like a second-year program. They run the ball well and have decent size on defense.”
Allatoona was in the same position three years ago when it went 4-6 in its first year of having a full varsity schedule in Class AAAA. After dropping a classification in 2010, its fortunes skyrocketed behind running back Miles Jones, who is now playing for Jacksonville State.
Having moved up two classifications to AAAAA, the Buccaneers are halfway to their second straight undefeated regular season — without Jones and their entire starting offensive line.
One of the bigger surprises of this season is how well the first-year starting offensive line has held up. It has done well in opening lanes for Allatoona’s two two-headed monster in T.J. Herron and Josh Beautista.
Herron has 98 carries for 475 yards and 11 touchdowns and Beautista is at 439 yards on 44 carries.