Lanier Longhorns (8-AAAA)
Coach: Billy Wells
Record: 6-2, 3-2 region
Last week: Beat Stephens County 31-14
Lumpkin County Indians (8-AAAA)
Coach: Brad Waggoner
Record: 1-7, 1-4 region
Last week: Lost to Chestatee 42-14
Through his hyper-focus approach every week, Billy Wells admits he can’t avoid what this coming game means for the coming weeks.
Coming off a second-half comeback win over Stephens County, Lanier is a win away from clinching the school’s first-ever playoff berth. It’s just the second full varsity season for the rising Longhorns and the postseason is the next step in the process for Wells, his staff and the program.
“It’s been in the conversation this week, preparing,” Wells said of the playoffs. “It’s undeniable to the kids. They have been doing the math more than you or I have.
“It’s been a good week so far.”
The Longhorns entered this potential stepping stone week riding high after rallying from down 14-10 at halftime for a 31-14 win over Stephens County.
“For our guys to respond at halftime and come out and be consistent and play hard and try to beat our opponent was certainly a success,” Wells said.
Stephens was one of two teams fighting with the Longhorns for the final two playoff spots in Region 8-AAAA. The high praise in the comeback went to Tario Fuller, who rushed for 238 yards and a pair of touchdowns. But in front of Fuller was an offensive line playing as consistent as it has all season. James Hanrahan and Chase Wilson led the way up front and Tim Leazer blocked well and came up with a 25-yard touchdown catch. The running game freed up the passing game.
“If you can put more people into play, that certainly creates more things for the defense to have to work out throughout the week,” Wells said.
Last meeting: Lanier won 24-7 last year.
Directions to Lumpkin County High School: Highway 400 north until it dead ends, and make a left on Highway 60. After the Dahlonega downtown square, take a left on Highway 19 at the next light. School is one mile ahead on the right.