Shiloh’s Jeremy McDuffie (9) makes a tackle on Berkmar’s Rashad Hall (4) during their game earlier this season. (Photo: Craig Cappy)
Friday's game between Dacula and Shiloh at Barron Stadium can accurately be called a swing game in the Region 8-AAAAAA playoff race.
For the visiting Generals (4-4, 2-4), it’s more like an elimination game.
A loss in Friday night's 7:30 kickoff would eliminate them from contention, while a win would not only keep their postseason hopes alive, but also secure the program’s first .500 or better season since 2003, and give them a chance at their first winning season since that year.
“Obviously, they read the papers and they know the possibilities,” Shiloh coach Troy Hobbs said of his players. “But first things first. We’ve got to beat Dacula. Nothing else matters but Dacula right now.”
Indeed, the Falcons (3-4, 3-2) pose a formidable challenge and have a few things on the line themselves.
A win would go a long way toward helping them secure one of the region’s four postseason berths, while a loss leaves them plenty of work to do.
“Every game is a big game in this region,” Dacula coach Tommy Jones said. “But as I told the players, we’re not smart enough to look too far down the road past this game. Right now, it’s about focusing on Shiloh.”
And with good reason.
Shiloh comes into Friday's game fresh off breaking a 21-year losing streak to Parkview with last week’s 23-21 win.
And the Generals did it without leading rusher Charles Shavers, who sat out the game with an injury.
The 5-foot-8, 165-pound junior, who Hobbs said is still day-to-day, but even if he can’t go, the performance of Jeremy McDuffie and James Mials, who combined for 262 yards and two TDs last week, instilled plenty of confidence for the team to get the job done.
“If the doctors feel he’s ready, he’ll go,” Hobbs said of Shavers. “We’re preparing for him to be there, and we’re preparing for him not do be there. But McDuffie and James Mials did a good job last week, and we’re hoping they continue it this week.
“Dacula’s coming in off an bye week, and they have the same aspirations we do. So, they’re going to be tough.”
The Falcons are coming in off a bye week, but it may not have come at the most opportune time following their loss to Parkview two weeks ago.
With the Generals having beaten the same Panthers last week, Jones knows his Falcons will have their work cut out for them.
“Any time you lose, the only thing that makes you feel better is getting back after it,” Jones said. “There are two sides to the coin. We’ve had two weeks to prepare for Shiloh, but Shiloh’s stepped up and right now they’re playing with confidence.
“For us to be successful, we’ve got to control the football on offense and control the box and limit big-play potential on defense.”
While Shiloh’s backfield situation is still uncertain, Dacula has several options to use in what could be a battle of the running games, with quarterback Aaron Grove and running backs C.J. Mayes and Jacque Evangelister leading the way.
Shiloh Generals (8-AAAAAA)
Coach: Troy Hobbs
Record: 4-4, 2-4 region
Last week: Beat Parkview 23-21
Dacula Falcons (8-AAAAAA)
Coach: Tommy Jones
Record: 3-4, 3-2 region
Last week: Had a bye
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last meeting: Dacula won 31-8 last year
Directions to Dacula High School: From Ga. Highway 316, go north on Highway 8 approximately one mile and school is on the left.
2012 — Dacula 31, Shiloh 8
2011 — Dacula 25, Shiloh 0
2010 — Dacula 34, Shiloh 0
2009 — Dacula 20, Shiloh 0
2008 — Shiloh 24, Dacula 22
2001 — Dacula 35, Shiloh 9
2000 — Shiloh 32, Dacula 25
1985 — Shiloh 24, Dacula 8
1984 — Dacula 56, Shiloh 0