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Spartans chase rebound win in Tennessee

Photo: Craig Cappy GAC's Kyle Scales runs the ball during the game last week against Chamblee.

Photo: Craig Cappy GAC's Kyle Scales runs the ball during the game last week against Chamblee.

GAC AT HOWARD SCHOOL

GAC Spartans (6-AA)

Coach: Tim Hardy

Record: 3-1

Last week: Lost to Chamblee 27-24

Howard School (Tenn.) Hustlin’ Tigers

Coach: Michael Calloway

Record: 1-3

Last week: Beat Chattanooga Central 20-14

Last meeting: First meeting

Directions to Howard School: Take I-75 north to exit 2 and merge onto I-24 west toward Chattanooga/Nashville. Take a slight right unto US-27 north then exit on TN-58 South/Market Street. School will be on the left.

NORCROSS -- One more day must be better than one less.

At least Greater Atlanta Christian's football team hopes the results are.

The Spartans suffered their first loss last week on Thursday against Chamblee on a truncated schedule after construction issues in DeKalb County forced the game's rescheduling. But GAC didn't blame the loss on the late change.

"We didn't play our best game," head coach Tim Hardy said. "We need to finish the first half of our season on a strong note with a good performance."

Hardy brought his players to the film room on Friday before giving the team the entire weekend off. He said they enjoyed the chance to watch the film the very next day and he hopes the free weekend also does them well.

"They had a whole weekend for a physical and mental break from football, which I thought was good and healthy," Hardy said. "When you leave the field in disappointment, you want it to turn into the next Friday as fast as possible to erase that and move to the next game."

The next game keeps the Spartans on the road, traveling to Chattanooga, Tenn., to face the Howard School on Friday.

The extra day doesn't eliminate the long bus ride, but the Spartans added Howard late in the schedule as they tried to fill a big slate of non-region games.

"We'll leave school early, eat on the way and we are looking forward to it," Hardy said. "We are excited to get on the road as a team and get out of town."

The Hustlin' Tigers are 1-3, but coming off their first win of the season last Friday. The win also ended a 13-game losing streak for Howard, which lasted one a game in 2010 before spoiling Chattanooga Central's homecoming.

Their quarterback, Terrance Brooks, is the team's top playmaker out of the shotgun, improvising and making plays with both feet and arms. In last week's comeback win, Brooks threw for 221 yards, his second straight 200-plus performance.

"He'll stand there and run around and make plays happen," Hardy said. "We've really worked a lot this week defensively on discipline, on staying in our rush lanes, of making sure we stay in coverage and having some linebackers to play to their responsibilities."

On defense, the Howard School boasts a strong defensive line (and a pedigree which includes NFL Hall of Fame lineman Reggie White) and forced a pair of turnovers last week.

Hardy stressed balance for his offense this week and even in last Thursday's loss, the Spartans showed some. Running back Kyle Scales ran through Chamblee for 102 yards and three touchdowns and quarterback Rafe Chapple threw for 175 yards, 131 of them going to Chris Williams.