Sports

October 18, 2013

Every step a little closer

Dalton can’t afford to relax; Northwest, Southeast look to bounce back

(Continued)

Heritage (1-5, 1-1) at Southeast (3-3, 1-1)

The Generals ended a 15-game losing streak with a victory over LaFayette last week, and Southeast coach Sean Gray said Heritage — despite its record — is a dangerous team.

“We have to be prepared for a team coming in here feeling good,” Gray said. “They hit a couple of trick plays and blocked two punts, and they played with a nothing-to-lose attitude, and they will come in here with the same attitude. We have to be prepared for just about anything.”

Heritage coach Tim James, who has been the only head football coach at the school in its six-year existence, knows the emotional high his team reached with the win over the Ramblers could be a problem this week.

“You just preach and hope they are listening,” James said. “We had some things go our way and made a few more plays than the other team. We had some success, and it has been so long since we have had that success, you really don’t know how they will respond to that.”

The Raiders are coming off of a disappointing loss to Ridgeland and have no room for error if they want to keep their hopes for the state playoffs alive. Although games against Northwest and Dalton loom on the sub-region schedule, Gray said the Raiders must remain focused on Heritage and continue to improve.

“The thing about us is we have to keep making strides,” Gray said. “We have a chance to go home with a winning record in mid-October. We feel like we are making strides. It isn’t happening as fast as we want it to, but we are still looking for that signature win.”

Gray said sophomore quarterback Will Swantic will be at full speed this week after twice leaving last week’s loss to the Panthers after hard hits. Gray also said the outcome of this week’s game will depend on how the defense responds after allowing 35 points last week.

“We’ve challenged our defense this week, and we have had some physical practices,” Gray said.

Compiled by sports writers Devin Golden and Chris Whitfield and correspondents Larry Fleming, Dave Gordon and Doug Hawley.

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