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Friday Kickoff Week 4 - Salem at Apalachee

This Region 8-AAAA matchup will be an emotional test of Apalachee’s ability to rebound from its first loss in 14 regular-season games.

Moreover, the Wildcats will be challenged to overcome a loss despite gaining 570 yards, having three touchdowns called back and fumbling away a chance on undefeated Flowery Branch’s 12-yard line.

Stanley Williams, Apalchee

SALEM SEMINOLES (8-AAAA)

■ Coach: John Starr

■ Record: 2-1, 2-1 region

■ Last week: Beat Habersham Central 33-18

APALACHEE WILDCATS (8-AAAA)

■ Coach: Shane Davis

■ Record: 1-1, 1-1 region

■ Last week: Lost to Flowery Branch 52-35

“Our pride’s hurt. There’s no doubt about that,” Wildcats coach Shane Davis said. “We haven’t (lost in the regular season) in awhile, and we don’t want to get used to it.

“We’ve got two choices,” Davis added. “We can quit, or go right back to work.”

The Wildcats undoubtedly are heartened by gaining 509 yards rushing last week, led by freshman running back Stanley Williams’ 255 and two touchdowns.

Alex Camp chipped in 183 yards and another two scores.

But the Wildcats were proven vulnerable defensively, yielding 339 yards and four TDs passing and 222 and three scores rushing to a single running back.

“Defensively,” Davis said, “we’ve got to get better.”

Last season’s 37-14 win over Salem, the Wildcats’ second in as many tries, was particularly meaningful. It culminated the first undefeated regular season in Apalachee history.

This time, Davis knows Salem will be prepared. The Seminoles rebounded from a season-opening loss to Heritage with consecutive wins against Madison County and Habersham Central.

“They’ve got good speed at the skill positions and are very big on the line,” Davis warned.

■ Last meeting: Apalachee won 37-14 last year

■ Directions to Apalachee High School: From Ga. Highway 316 east, turn right on Patrick Mill Rd. Take first left. Go to 4-way stop and turn left onto Haymon Morris Rd.; school is on the right.