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PREVIEW: Salem at Wesleyan

Wesleyan #33 Brandon Gilliam

Wesleyan #33 Brandon Gilliam

Salem Seminoles (8-AAAAA)

Coach: John Starr

Record: 1-0

Last week: Beat Rockdale County 28-7

Wesleyan Wolves (6-AA)

Coach: Franklin Pridgen

Record: 0-1

Last week: Lost to Holy Innocents’ 10-9

Like the rest of small Region 6-AA, Wesleyan had six non-region games to fill and that left some tough matchups on the schedule. One of those comes Friday against Salem, a Class AAAAA school out of Rockdale County that will test the much thinner Wolves.

“They are a big AAAAA school with lots of kids with size and speed,” Wesleyan head coach Franklin Pridgen said of Salem. “Their schemes on both sides of the ball aren’t real complicated but they are certainly effective. Their quarterback is an outstanding athlete and the kind that keeps opposing coaches up at night because he is so dangerous with both his feet and his arm. If we pressure him he can hurt us scrambling. If we don’t then he picks us apart throwing the ball. Not a good option there. Defensively they bring a lot of pressure in the box which is always tough to handle. I think if we can get the ball in space we’ll be fine.”

The season opener was tough for Wesleyan, which controlled the game throughout only to watch its lead evaporate in the fourth quarter. The offense didn’t have a big night, but the defense was strong behind the play of standouts like Brandon Gilliam, who had 10 tackles (seven solos), and Rhett Delk. Delk also had two catches for 25 yards and the Wolves’ only touchdown.

“Our kids felt that we should’ve won last week and were the better team but fell prey to some unfortunate circumstances that really cost us,” Pridgen said. “We’ve had a great week of practice so far and they will go into Friday’s game with confidence.”

Last meeting: First meeting

Directions to 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.