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HEADING ON THE RIGHT PATH: Wildcats have tough test against Georgiana

The Florala Wildcats know that they have their work cut out for them this week as they host the Georgiana Panthers for a Class 1A, Region 2 contest on Friday night in Florala.

“It doesn’t get any easier for us this week,” Florala head coach Scott Mason said. “I’ve been say that if we can make it through these first two weeks, that we will be fine.”

The young Wildcats are coming off a tough loss to J.U. Blacksher, but Mason said the scoreboard didn’t tell the whole story.

“We moved the ball up and down the field on them,” Mason said. “We were able to move the ball at will on them, but we made some mistakes and we weren’t able to stop them.”

Mason said the Wildcats came charging out of the gate against J.U. Blacksher.

“The first drive of the game, we are moving the ball at will,” Mason said. “They couldn’t figure out what were doing and we looked the Patriots driving down the field, but then a couple of mistakes took the air out of the drive.”

The Wildcats put up more than 300 yards of offense, but four turnovers and seven dropped passes limited their scoring chances.

“I’m not worried about our offense at all,” Mason said. “The mistakes we had were fixable. A lot of them came down to it being a young kid trying to make something happen.”

Over the past few seasons, the Wildcats have gotten used to losing games and it can be tough to get them out of that mindset, Mason said.

“When things started going bad, it was easy our guys to revert to their old ways,” Mason said. “They are getting there, though. Things have changed a lot around here just in the few months that I’ve been here. We had a lot of growing pains last week, but I feel really good about these kids. We just ran into a really good football team that has (Class) 3A numbers.”

This week, the Wildcats host defending region champion Georgiana for the first region game of the season.

“They are always a very athletic team that is well coached,” Mason said. “It’s no mystery what they are going to do. They have speed all over the place. I feel like there are spots that we match up well against them, but there are going to be spots that we don’t. We just have to be careful, hold onto the football and just play our game.”

Mason said that he knows Georgiana is going to present a big challenge to his team simply because the Wildcats don’t have the same experience as the Panthers.

“They are going to have 17-and-18 year olds going up against our 13-and-14 year olds,” Mason said. “It’s hard for a 14-year old to bring down an 18-year old that outweighs him by 30 or 40 pounds. We can hide that youth on offense with trickery, but on defense and special teams there isn’t a way to hide our youth.”

Regardless of how the game plays out, Mason said he is excited about the future of the Wildcat football program.

“We’ve got all the pieces in place and I’m excited about the future of our program,” Mason said. “I’m excited about the attitude of the kids. I thought there would be some finger pointing after the game, but there wasn’t any. This week starts region play and we are just as much in the hunt as anyone else in the league.”

The Wildcats and Panthers will kickoff at 7 p.m., Friday night in Florala.