MONROE AT LANIER
Monroe Area Hurricanes (8-AAAA)
Coach: Matthew Fligg
Record: 4-0 (1-0)
Last week: Beat Lumpkin County 54-13
Lanier Longhorns (8-AAAA)
Coach: Billy Wells
Record: 3-1 (1-0)
Last week: Beat Madison County 14-7
Last meeting: First meeting
Directions to Lanier High School: From I-85, go west on Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road and turn right on Buford Highway. School is on the left.
As athletics director, Billy Wells keeps up with more than just football these days.
The head Lanier football coach knew about the no-hitter in the Longhorns softball game Wednesday night minutes after the final out and he watches with interest teams around the region during all three high school seasons.
So, as his team prepared for tonight's game against Monroe Area, a first in football, he know of the Purple Hurricanes talent well before putting in the first game tape.
"We know they have some track stars on their football team," Wells said. "Four of their guys did really well in the region and really well in the state."
The Hurricanes did do well at state, winning the Class AAA boys 100-meter relay and quarterback Stanton Truitt finished third in the Class AAA 100 meters.
"They do a lot with the quarterback and the running back," Well said. "They play a lot of man coverage because they can run."
And Lanier faces Monroe Area tonight riding high after a thrilling comeback win to open region play a week ago. The Longhorns beat Madison County 14-7 on a strip fumble return for a touchdown by Ricky Viengxay late in the fourth quarter. It was a resilient win which also happened to be the first region win in Lanier's first region game in the school's varsity football history.
"I think our kids understand that sometimes things don't always go your way," Wells said of a young team finding ways to win games. "We went in at halftime and we talked about things we need to do. They've come out and they've battled."
But whatever feel-good emotions lingered over last weekend, Monday's ritual heaped reality back on the Longhorns.
"The main thing we talked about Monday it to try to make improvements," Wells said. "That's our goal every week, to try to get better. Week-to-week we go in Monday and we evaluate the film. So much if it boils down to fundamentals and those are things that are correctable."
Effort can't be corrected and Wells has been pleased with the effort from his team since he helped open up the school.
"That's a credit to this community that those kids understand that they have to play hard," Wells said. "One of the things we have talked about is there aren't any plays off. To win a varsity football game you have to play every play and evey minute. You can't take any play off."
With last week's win, Lanier learned that the happy way. Tonight is a new opportunity.