DANIELSVILLE - Coach Shane Davis is turning blue about now, refusing to exhale until his Apalachee football team completes its regular season at 10-0.
Not even Friday's 31-14 Region 8-AAAA victory at Madison County, which made the region-leading Wildcats 9-0, has him feeling relaxed.
"You know 10-0s don't come around that often," he said last week. "Usually somewhere along the way, there's a slip-up."
Already assured a fourth consecutive playoff berth and Barrow County's first ever region championship, Davis' Wildcats (9-0, 9-0) showed no signs of relenting against the Red Raiders (5-4, 5-4). They came back from a touchdown deficit less than two minutes into the game and won more decisively than by the one-point margins they had the last two times out against Loganville (42-41) and Heritage (24-23).
Once Madison took its short-lived lead on a 45-yard scoring run on a faked punt, the Wildcats took charge. First, they tackled Madison's quarterback for a safety with 3:15 left in the first quarter, then went ahead for good, 10-7 on Mike Norman's 54-yard TD pass to John Ansley and Jon Lee's conversion run with 1:16 left in the opening period.
The victory evened Apalachee's series over Madison at 2-2 and backed last season's 55-35 win against the Red Raiders, when Lee rushed for 156 yards and three TDs.
This time, however, the Wildcats scored in a variety of ways and proved themselves deserving of the region championship they secured by beating Heritage. Not only did the defense chip in the safety and Norman his TD passes to Ansley and Zach Gentry, but Lee ran for 25- and 11-yard TDs that put the Wildcats up 24-7 by halftime.
Madison came as close as it would on a 40-yard scoring pass in the third quarter.