CHAMBLEE - Having played the worst of Region 6-AA, Wesleyan now has to face the best.
Cross Keys may not have been the best tune-up for the Wolves, who host No. 2-ranked Buford next Friday.
With senior Matt Karempelis turning in a dominant performance, Wesleyan crushed the outmanned Indians 53-0 at North DeKalb Stadium on Friday night.
Karempelis scored three first-half touchdowns and had 138 yards rushing on nine carries by intermission as the Wolves (2-1, 1-0) romped in their region opener against Cross Keys (0-3, 0-1).
Karempelis scored on runs of 9 and 3 yards in the first quarter, then had a 49-yard run in the second.
It wasn't just on offense where Karempelis wreaked havoc, either. He had an interception, a fumble recovery and a sack.
"Matt's a very unselfish player," Wesleyan coach Franklin Pridgen said. "It was nice to see him have a game like this."
Wesleyan is yet to allow a touchdown. The Wolves lost 8-6 at Hart County last week, but the Bulldogs' points came on two field goals and a safety.
Hart County, ranked No. 4 in Class AAA, was a major test for Wesleyan in its preparation for region teams like Buford, Greater Atlanta Christian and Lovett.
Cross Keys wasn't a test all.
"I wish our schedule was different, but it isn't," Pridgen said. "But we took care of business like good teams do and now we'll think about Buford."
Buford beat Wesleyan 55-6 last season in a game that was much more lopsided than anyone expected.
"I didn't play like we can or should have last year," Karempelis said. "We know what we have to do this year."
Wesleyan had its big halftime lead despite losing two fumbles and having a pair of touchdowns called back because of penalties.
Cross Keys had just three first downs by halftime and two came on penalties. The Indians lost two fumbles and had two interceptions in the first half.
One of the interceptions was returned 45 yards for a touchdown by Devin Stanton.
Wesleyan also got first-half touchdowns from Jesse Smith, who smashed would-be tacklers to complete a 14-yard reception from Brent Pugh, and Derren Evans, who ran it in from the 11.
The Wolves played their reserves in the second half and Ian Davis had a 40-yard TD run in the third quarter and a 17-yarder in the fourth.
"I was proud the way our second team went out there and preserved our touchdown streak," Pridgen said.
Cross Keys, which plays at No. 4 GAC next Friday, lost to Wesleyan 52-0 last season and it was 40-0 by halftime this year.
It will be a long season for Cross Keys, which was 1-9 each of the past two seasons and started this season by losing 53-0 to Callaway and 48-19 to Prince Avenue Christian in non-region games.
CROSS KEYS 0
Wesleyan: Matt Karempelis 9 run (kick failed) 7:50
Wesleyan: Derren Evans 11 run (pass failed) 5:28
Wesleyan: Karempelis 23 run (Lee Ellis kick) 3:30
Wesleyan: Jesse Smith 14 pass from Brent Pugh (Zac Johnston pass from
Wesleyan: Karempelis 49 run (Ellis kick) 7:00
Wesleyan: Devin Stanton 45 interception return (kick failed) :10
Wesleyan: Ian Davis 40 run (kick failed) 10:11
Wesleyan: Davis 17 run (Ellis kick) 10:25