For the Sonoraville High School football team, the theme this week has to be pretty simple — let’s play.
Enough of these off weeks and open dates — let’s play.
Just less than a month ago, the Phoenix went to Rome and began their year with a 21-0 when over Model.
Then they were off for two weeks.
When head coach Denver Pate’s team did get back on the field Sept. 3 in a rescheduled game against Fannin County, it took them a little while to get cranked up but in the end they cruised to a 32-0 victory over the Rebels.
Now they will end their second two-week layoff this Friday night when they open Region 6 AAA action against defending champ Rockmart at The Furnace.
“Rockmart is a very good team,” Pate said after the win over Fannin County. “It will be a tough first game, but we know all of the region games will be tough games.”
The game against the Yellow Jackets begins a stretch of eight region games because now, it’s seriously Game On for the red-and-black.
For the defense, they bent a couple of times, but never broke in the shutout win over Fannin County. And they were downright dominant in the victory over Model, keeping them from converting a third down the entire game and forcing eight punts while allowing less than 40 yards in total offense.
Lineman Zach McAfee, lineman Da’von Jones, lineman Dawson Young, linebacker Jebb Knight, linebacker Tristan Mullins, lineman Spencer McDaniel, linebacker Wyatt Springfield, defensive back Matthew Parrot, DB Brant Bryant, DB Nicholas Beddington, and linebacker Jeremiah Payne have all been a few of the stalwarts on the rundown crew the first two games.
Offensively, while they have made some mistakes, the Phoenix have been about as good as a team can be at times in the first two games, having scored three touchdowns in their first game and five in their second.
They have been solid running and throwing the football.
Junior Zach Lyles, who has verbally committed to play baseball at Western Kentucky, has led the ground game but Springfield and sophomore quarterback Jaxon Pate have also been running the ball well.
And Pate has been solid in his first two varsity starts. He has been accurate with his throws, whether rolling out or simply dropping back. And he hasn’t been apprehensive about taking off down the field when everybody is covered and there’s room to run in front of him.
Bryant, Beddington, tight end Ridge Redd and others have also done a good job of pulling those passes in and getting up the field for yardage.
The Phoenix are the final team in the region to start their league schedule after their second open date last week was actually the first week of region games.
And after that first week, Rockmart, along with Adairsville, Ringgold, and Lafayette are all 1-0 while Coahulla Creek, North Murray, Murray County, and Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe are all 0-1.
Rockmart began its playoff pursuit with a 42-7 win over Coahulla Creek, amassing nearly 300 yards with nearly 200 of those in the air. Meanwhile defensively, the Creek had less than 150 yards in total offense.
On a night when all the region teams that won showed their offense’s quick strike capability, Adairsville had the most points in a 55-13 win over Murray County. The Tigers, who scored in every quarter, are now 3-0 overall and are off this weekend.
LaFayette kept Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe both winless and scoreless a 39-0 road win over the Warriors. The Rambler scored 21 points in the first quarter and tacked on 11 more in the second to hold a 32-0 lead at halftime.
Ringgold took its place atop the early standings as well with a 31-28 when over North Murray in those teams’ league opener. North Murray, which scored a touchdown in every quarter, LED 14-0 at halftime before the Tigers scored 14 points in the third quarter and then 17 more in the fourth to pull out the come-from-behind win.