Special to the Times
After a week off, the Valwood Valiants prepare to square off against the Cavaliers of Mount De Sales Academy (Macon, Ga.) on Friday.
The game will serve as the first action since the Valiants pulled off an outstanding comeback win over the Matadors of Memorial Day Academy on Sept. 13.
Valwood Head Coach Ashley Henderson continues to commend his players and staff for their self-control during the late stages of the game.
“I’m proud of my guys for their composure,” Coach Henderson said. “(The Memorial Day Academy game) could have gone either way, and the important thing is that everyone remained level-headed. There was no sense of panic from our sideline.”
Coach Henderson also appreciates the underlying lesson of a close victory.
“(The Memorial Day Academy game) helps the team to see that we can be beaten if we lose focus,” Coach Henderson said. “In the end, those types of games make us stronger as a team.”
Valiant senior Carter Elliott played a major role in his team’s victory over the Matadors.
“Carter is a football player, flat out,” Coach Henderson said. “He is so talented that it’s impossible to put a label on him. He got some reps in (at quarterback) during our off week but there’s no telling what we can expect to see from him (against Mount De Sales).”
Mount De Sales Academy (0-4) comes into the game after a 31-6 loss to the Trojans of Milledge Academy (Milledgeville, Ga.) on Sept. 20.
The Cavaliers fell to the Valiants in their last meeting by a score of 17-14, and while they are winless on the season, Coach Henderson fully understands that they are not a team to be taken lightly.
“Last season, (Mount de Sales) played a near-perfect game,” Coach Henderson said. “They were 1-3 coming in, but they played like an undefeated team. They caught just a few bad breaks and a late interception sealed the game for us.”
The Valiants’ coaching staff has taken extra effort to organize their players for the challenge ahead.
“The extra days of practice (from the bye week) really came in handy,” Coach Henderson said. “We had more time to prepare and we also had time to allow some of our injured players a chance to heal.”
Last year’s matchup was a nail-biter, and going into Friday’s game, Coach Henderson anticipates more of the same.
“You can expect perfection from the Cavaliers,” Coach Henderson said. “They look very similar to the team we played last year. They mix their game up well and keep you guessing.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 pm at Goddard Field.