WINDER - Apalachee football coach Shane Davis said his players have spoken surprisingly little about their best start in less than a decade of playing football.
Now 5-0 after Friday's 56-0 demolition of crosstown rival Winder-Barrow, that might change.
Thanks to Jon Lee's 272 yards and four touchdowns rushing, including 74- and 80-yarder runs, the Wildcats are three wins better than their 2-0 starts in 2006 and '08, when they finished 6-5 and a best-ever 7-4, respectively.
"That (undefeated start) is nice to talk about on weekends, but I haven't heard our kids talk much about it Monday through Friday," Davis said. "They've handled (success) very well."
Apalachee (5-0, 5-0) remained unbeaten atop Region 8-AAAA by manhandling visiting Winder-Barrow (1-4, 1-4) and took another decisive step toward a fourth consecutive playoff appearance. The Wildcats now go to region foe Habersham Central on Friday just two victories short of last season's total.
However, Davis warned about becoming over-confident merely halfway through a season in which all games count in region.
"There's a lot of football left to play, and we're one loss away from the region (race) being wide open again," he said.
Apalachee seemed invincible against Winder-Barrow, though. Christian Hoard raced 29 yards on Apalachee's first snap, and things got worse from there for the Bulldoggs, who have now lost twice consecutively to Apalachee by a combined score of 107-6. Apalachee scored on its first five possessions and wasn't forced to punt until 1:07 before halftime. Even reserves like Alex Camp had an impact, rushing for TDs of 31 and 74 yards for Apalachee's final margin.
Lee's 2-yard run put Apalachee ahead 7-0, before Mike Norman passed 35 yards over the middle to John Ansley for a 14-0 advantage with 3:51 left in the first quarter. Lee's 4-yard run made it 21-0, Ansley's 81-yarder made it 28-0 and Lee's 74-yard burst through scrimmage gave the Wildcats a 35-0 advantage 4:59 before intermission.
Lee's 80-yard run on the first snap of the second half put the win safely out of reach, 42-0, before Camp and the reserves took over.
"They've got four or five kids on the field at any one time who can hurt you," Bulldoggs coach Ben Corley said.