Lovejoy Set For AAAAAA

After a 14-1 season last year that fell one win short of a state title, coach Al Hughes believes his Lovejoy Wildcats are ready to prove themselves in the new Class AAAAAA. The Cats played in Class AAAA the past two years.


“Worry about things we can control,” Hughes tells his players. “It’s a whole new season and we need to prove ourselves.”


In order for Lovejoy to repeat last year’s state finals appearance, the Cats will have to come into the season ready to play. The Wildcats open their schedule with a game against rival Mundy’s Mill, a team that always play them tough. They then travel to annual powerhouse, Colquitt County, and then are faced with a stiff challenge at home against Alpharetta.


“We have our hands full right off the bat” said Hughes.


Unlike last year when the team had a small senior class, Lovejoy will enjoy having 40 seniors who have proven themselves and are ready for the tough schedule ahead. The Cats return their starting front seven on defense as well as all of their skill players on offense. The experience and leadership these players bring to the team is the team’s greatest asset and it has not gone unnoticed.


“The strength of a great senior class is great leadership” says Hughes. “This group of boys has done a good job with accountability”. Hughes sees quarterback Alejandro Benefield, tight end/defensive back Zane Fields, and linebacker/tight end Nathaniel Norwood as the leaders on the team.


Among the 40 seniors on the team, 12 have received scholarship offers to play collegiate football and more are expected to be on the way. Out of the 12 that have received scholarships, four have made commitments. Georgia Tech (Travis Custis), Auburn (A.J. Jackson), Jacksonville State and Middle Tennessee State are the schools that the four Wildcats have each committed to.


While the story around Lovejoy is the large senior class and the experience they bring to the gridiron, the Wildcats have younger players who are looking to make noise this season. On offense, talented wide receiver Preston Williams is just a sophomore. On defense, junior linebacker Demarcus Gates has played since his freshman year.

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