PREVIEW: Hebron at Commerce

Hebron's Jay Wallo

Hebron's Jay Wallo

Hebron Lions (8-A)

Coach: Sal Battaglia

Record: 1-6, 0-5 region

Last week: Lost to Prince Avenue 48-6

Commerce Tigers (8-A)

Coach: Marvin Justice

Record: 4-4, 0-4 region

Last week: Lost to Athens Academy 45-7

For the first time during this trying season, Sal Battaglia ended the weekend with a bitter taste in his mouth. At just 1-6, the Lions’ season hasn’t gone the way of the preseason expectations, but every week, Battaglia watched his young team improve.

“They’ve got to accept responsibility that you are doing a good job or a bad job and be coachable at that point,” Battaglia said. “That’s what you fight with a young team.”

In the lopsided loss to Prince Avenue, Hebron committed too many of what Battaglia called “mental breakdowns,” not doing the little things to be in a position to succeed. And on Friday night, Hebron faces a Commerce team which returns to full strength after losing its last four games with a handful of players out with injuries.

“I am not facing the 0-4 team, I’m facing the 4-0 team,” Battaglia said.

Battaglia coached with several of the Commerce defensive staff members as the offensive coordinator at North Oconee. “It’s going to be a fun game because they what I’m going to do and I know what they are going to do,” Battaglia said.

But the biggest concern at Hebron is the young team responding from a week ago. Battaglia said he saw some positives, Seth Kuntz and Jay Wallo both played well at times on defense and Tyler Matthews performed to his standards on offense. Matthews racked up 180 yards against Prince Avenue.

“We still lack consistency,” Battaglia said. “You have those mental breakdowns and until you fix those mental breakdowns it’s tough for them to compete.”

Last meeting: First meeting

Directions to Commerce High School: I-85 north to exit 147, Commerce/Maysville go right on exit. At first light, take right on Washington St. At yield sign, veer right then immediately to the left toward Commerce City Schools sign. School is on left.