Locust Grove excelling in tight games

If there’s a word to describe the reaction to Locust Grove’s 5-1, it’d have to be disbelief. Even with skilled players Cortez McDowell and Keenan Wise, the Wildcats really had nothing in their history to suggest they’d reel off a five-game winning streak and force their way into discussions about potential playoff teams in Region 4-AAAA.

“I’m on cloud nine,” said Locust Grove coach Clint Satterfield. “It’s a little bit beyond my expectations. I knew we were going to be better. It’s the fourth year of the school and a lot of these kids came in as ninth-graders.”

The fifth game was the real eye-opener. Down 31-0 late in the first half last week against a surging Dutchtown team, the Wildcats stormed back to win 40-37. One one span of six offensive plays in the third period, they scored three touchdowns. McDowell caught eight passes for 186 yards and three touchdowns.

Their lone loss, a 25-21 setback against county rival Union Grove, finished with the Wildcats on the two-yard line. So they’re a play away from being 6-0. That game is one of four that have been decided by a touchdown or less.

“I think we’ve got a chance to make some noise,” Satterfield said.

Ridgeland rolling: Speaking of noise, Ridgeland was exposed to off-field noise in August, when the Rossville school received a cease-and-desist letter from a civil rights group whose aim was to stop the Panthers from having team meals at churches.

The conflict hasn’t affected Ridgeland’s on-field performance. Behind what coach Mark Mariakis calls a strong and unified line, the Panthers have dominated five straight opponents since losing a shootout against Calhoun in their season opener. The Panthers are 4-1 and have scored at least 35 points in all five games.

“We have a nice combination of size and strength up there,” Mariakis said. “They’ve bought into what we’re trying to do and they’re doing it well.”

The latest conquest was perhaps the most eye-opening, a 48-21 win over Dalton a game in which AJC Super 11 player Vonn Bell touched the ball five times, scored four touchdowns and compiled 270 all-purpose yards.

“Last year we really didn’t use him a whole lot offensively, but we’ve gotten him involved more,” Mariakis said.

As for the civil rights complaint, Mariakis said the school system’s administration has dealt with it and allowed him to focus on football.

“Really our kids have not been affected by it at all. Our people have made a great effort to make sure all that didn’t happen,” he said. “It’s all been very positive, and I think that eased the minds of the kids. It just united everybody. They had a reason to stand up and bond community wide.”

Can unbeatens stay that way: There are five remaining unbeaten teams in AAAA – Sandy Creek, Chamblee, Carver-Atlanta, Washington and Monroe Area. Of those, Washington and Monroe Area face the stiffest tests this week. Washington faces 4-1 Grady at the Georgia Dome Saturday, while Monroe Area duels with 8-AAAA power Stephens County Friday night in Monroe.

5 comments Add your comment

Karma

October 9th, 2012
4:18 pm

Keep it going satt. Proud of you .. You deserve it as well as do your players.

Football Fan

October 9th, 2012
6:23 pm

Proud of them Wildcats ….. They deserve some respect for what these Boys have been through for 4 years! Shout Out too them SENIORS! Dusty McCulley; Blayne Christian; Nathan Hensley; Lucas Hughes; Tyler Duncan; Keenan Wise; Bryce Thomas; Nick Ivey; Fred McKibben; Zach Mitchell;Brandon Thurman; A. Wilson; Ryan Baker; Chris Disalva; Tyler Rapes; Patrick Hicks; Dijon Davis; and Kyle Howard ….. Most of these players have been with this team from the beginning! Keep it going LG!

Chris

October 9th, 2012
6:43 pm

Atlanta Public Schools Domecoming Schedule for Oct 13th

http://www.atlantapublicschools.us/Page/29649

Just want to know

October 10th, 2012
10:38 am

LG see you guys in 4weeks. The mighty stockbridge tigers.

HSFB Fan

October 10th, 2012
11:07 pm

Satterfield is a heckuva coach. Very underrated and has a knack for buildong teams the right way ( he was the catalyst of the rise of the Jonesboro program back in 2008 when they made the playoffs and won in the 1st round).