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PREVIEW: Salem at Apalachee

Apalachee's Rakim Peters

Apalachee's Rakim Peters

Salem Seminoles (8-AAAAA)

Coach: John Starr

Record: 2-5, 1-4 region

Last week: Had a bye

Apalachee Wildcats (8-AAAAA)

Coach: Shane Davis

Record: 3-4, 2-3 region

Last week: Beat Cedar Shoals 27-23

Apalachee is beginning to believe. For the past two weeks, the Wildcats recovered from halftime deficits to win their games, opting rather than folding to fight back as the season gets later and later. The two comeback wins put an end to a four-game losing streak and gave Apalachee a better outlook heading into the season’s final three games.

“For our guys, it’s a little bit of confidence,” head coach Shane Davis said. “We didn’t get to a point where we panicked.”

At one point, the Wildcats trailed by 10 points in the final quarter before righting themselves with a combination of a stingy defense led by leading tacklers Marcus Riley and Johnny Thompson to a new-found offensive threat in Monterian Smith. Against Cedar Shoals, Smith broke ofsf two touchdown runs of more than 20 yards, ending the game with more than 150 yards rushing as the Wildcats.

“I feel like across the board we’ve gotten better,” Davis said. “That’s been the difference in our team that last few weeks. We’ve been able to cut down on some of the turnovers on offense and defensively, we’ve caused a couple.”

A win Friday night would even Apalachee at 3-3 in the region. Currently, they sit behind the fourth-place Clarke Central for the final playoff spot. That winning streak goes on the line tonight against Salem, a team which has beaten the Wildcats just once in four tries.

Coming off a bye, Davis expects a fully operational Salem team, which runs the wing-T offense mostly out of the shotgun. “It’s just a lot going on back there,” he said.

Last meeting: Salem won 14-7 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.