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Cross Keys at Hebron preview

Josh Heflin

Josh Heflin

Cross Keys Indians (6-AAA)

Coach: David Radford

Record: 0-2

Last week: Lost to Pinecrest Acad. 10-7

Hebron Christian Lions (8-A)

Coach: Kevin Shaffer

Record: 1-0

Last week: Beat Lakeview Academy 23-7

Hebron’s season opener brought quite the turnaround from 2012, when Lakeview thrashed the Lions 42-0. A year later, Hebron controlled play throughout on the way to a 23-7 win. It was victory No. 1 for new head coach Kevin Shaffer, but the momentum it gave his program was more important than anything.

“It’s definitely a big boost,” Shaffer said. “Hebron hasn’t done well in the past and we’re getting guys to believe in themselves. I told them at practice last week that we should win this game (with Lakeview). It looked like a bunch of jaws dropped. They’re not used to that, especially with Lakeview being good in the past and beating us 42-0 last year. They weren’t used to someone telling them they should win. That wasn’t just coach-speak. I thought we should win.”

That’s just what happened. The Lions’ up-tempo offense put up big numbers, led by running back Andrew Redman and quarterback Connor Holliday, but the defense was just as solid in holding Lakeview to seven points. Shaffer praised linebackers Will Brice, Josh Heflin and Jay Wallo, as well as defensive backs Matthew Glisson and Redman.

“We are encouraged that we played so well, but there are some things to work on,” Shaffer said.

The Lions hope to keep it rolling against perennially struggling Cross Keys, which is 0-2 and enters with a 15-game losing streak. The Indians, who have won two or fewer games all but one season since 1995, are coming off an encouraging result, though, a narrow loss to Pinecrest.

“Cross Keys is athletic,” Shaffer said. “We have to tackle. If you let those guys loose, they’re gone.”

Last meeting: Hebron won 60-0 last year

Directions to Hebron Christian: Ga. Hwy. 316 east, go north on Ga. Hwy. 8 one mile and turn left at the light onto Dacula Road. Stadium is about a mile ahead on the right.