Wesleyan faces another region test in Lovett

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Wesleyan's Charles Mack and David Monte (26) put a hit on Westminster quarterback Jake Forte (10) during last week's game.

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Wesleyan's Charles Mack and David Monte (26) put a hit on Westminster quarterback Jake Forte (10) during last week's game.



Lovett Lions (6-AA)

Coach: Mike Muschamp

Record: 3-4, 1-0 region

Last week: Beat Hapeville Charter 33-0

Wesleyan Wolves (6-AA)

Coach: Franklin Pridgen

Record: 4-4, 1-1 region

Last week: Lost to Westminster 42-17

When: Today, 7:30 p.m.

Last meeting: Lovett won 7-0 in 2007

Directions to the Wesleyan School: From I-85, take I-285 west to Peachtree Industrial Blvd./Ga. 141 north exit. Veer to the left on Peachtree Parkway/Ga. 141 and turn right on Spalding Drive. School is on the left.

It's sometimes hard to find the positives in a 42-17 loss. It wasn't this week at Wesleyan.

Head coach Franklin Pridgen saw plenty he liked and one glaring problem with last Friday's loss to Westminster.

"We've got to take care of the ball," Pridgen said. "We had 399 yards of total offense against a defense that was bringing pressure from everywhere. We protected extremely well and ran the ball pretty well.

"But we had those three turnovers (two interceptions and a bad punt snap) that put the ball inside our 15-yard line. ... We handed them 21 points and missed a field goal."

Take away those 21 points and convert a short field goal, Pridgen figures, and his team is only down 21-20. That's not bad considering what the coach said was a physical mismatch against a much larger Westminster line of scrimmage.

Hank Masters led a stout effort on the offensive line that allowed success for guys like Miles Smith (13 rushes, 127 yards) and Jahmai Jones (eight catches, 150 yards).

"Our kids' heart and their spirit to compete were incredible," the coach said.

The Wolves (4-4, 1-1 Region 6-AA) won't face quite as big of a size disadvantage along the lines tonight when they host Lovett (3-4, 1-0), but Pridgen thinks the Lions are more talented at the skill positions.

And they're also deep, which presents the typical challenge for a Wesleyan team that has been outnumbered all season long.

"Like Westminster, (Lovett) will be well-coached and they'll have a lot of guys standing on the sideline," Pridgen said. "The depth issue favors them hands down."

Both Lovett and Wesleyan play in five-team 6-AA --and both have defeated lowly Hapeville Charter --so reaching the playoffs this season isn't an issue. Seeding, on the other hand, will be.

That's why a victory in this matchup, Wesleyan's regular-season home finale, is critical as both attempt to avoid the No. 4 playoff position and a likely difficult opener.

"I'm excited we've already clinched a playoff spot and obviously we want the highest seed possible," Pridgen said. "The No. 4 seed from our region matches up with (defending state champion) Calhoun in the first round and nobody wants that."