The Sonoraville High School football team will hold its final tune-up game Friday night when they hold their 2021 home opener against Fannin County.
Originally, the Phoenix, which are 1-0 on the year, were scheduled to travel to Summerville to face Chattooga High School this Friday, but word came down over the weekend that the Indians had to cancel.
So Sonoraville fifth-year head coach Denver Pate and his staff immediately went to work on finding a replacement game because didn’t want to go three weeks between games and they were able to pick up Fannin County, which resides in 2-A Region 6 along with Gordon Central and Rome Model, whom the Phoenix have beaten and scrimmaged.
For the Phoenix, the game against the Rebels will be their only one in a three-week span as they were off last week and will be off next week before they begin 3-A Region 6 action Friday, Sept.17th.
Pate’s team will also be looking to go into Region play unbeaten and a win over the Rebels would make them 2-0 with their eight Region games filling out the remainder of the schedule.
The Phoenix come into Friday’s game wanting to continue to fine tune their offense, although it has looked like a well-oiled machine at times in their scrimmages and in their season-opening 21-0 road win nearly two weeks ago over Model HS in Rome.
The Phoenix scored all their points in the first half and moved the ball all game long against the Blue Devils to the tune of 398 yards in total offense, but five turnovers prevented them from crossing the goal line a couple more times.
The Red, White, and Black had pretty decent balance with 232 yards passing and another 166 rushing as junior running back Zach Lyles had an outstanding opening night with 197 yards in total offense on only a dozen touches.
He ran for 105 yards on just 10 carries and caught two passes for another 92. So Lyles will go into Friday night’s opener at The Furnace averaging 10.5 yards per rush and 46 yards per catch this year.
They are putting up the eye-popping offensive numbers while they continue adjusting to a new offense, using more of a pro set with a tight end or even two tight ends and two running backs.
And now that they’ve had a couple of more weeks to continue working at getting more comfortable in the new system, it will be interesting to see where they stand with region games right around the corner.
It was also pretty obvious that on the opening night of the season, the Sonoraville defense was in midseason form by pitching a shutout.
The Phoenix offense did commit three turnovers and lose two fumbles, but the Rome offense could not capitalize on any of those mistakes. Twice in fact, the Blue Devil set up shop inside Sonoraville territory after a turnover but didn’t go anywhere and they never got into the Red Zone the entire game.
The visitors also didn’t let Rome put together any drives or even a hint of a drive, forcing them to go 0-for-11 on third down conversions while allowing less than 50 yards in total offense.
And they forced four turnovers on their own, recovering two Model fumbles and picking off two passes.
Fannin County is 1-0 on the season after beating Union County, 34-7 nearly two weeks ago in their opener. The Blue Devils were supposed to play neighboring rival Copper Basin for the first time in 25 years last week but that game was canceled.
The Blue Devils were pretty potent themselves offensively in their season-opening win, accumulating 434 yards in total offense. And they did show good balance with 234 yards on the ground and another 200 through the air in that win.
And like the Phoenix in that first week, Fannin County had a good defensive effort and giving up just a hundred and thirty yards in total offense. But 83 of those came on Union County’s only touchdown, which was an 83-yard pass play in the second half after FC had jumped to a 27-0 lead.
The kickoff for this rescheduled game is set for 7:30 p.m.