The Phoenix have been decimated by injuries to go along with a 1-5 start to the season. So last week was used as a time to rest, get healthy and hit the restart button before they head into the final four games of the season, all of which are going to be tough matchups against playoff contenders.
“We went in shorts and shoulder pads three days and gave the kids two days off,” said Sonoraville coach Roger Gentry.
“The biggest thing was that we got some rest, and we needed that badly. They got the long weekend off so they would come in ready to go this week.”
The four-game stretch for Sonoraville (1-5, 0-3) starts on Friday with a road trip to Adairsville (4-2, 2-1). The Tigers also had a week off last week after a 70-56 win over North Murray the previous week and are currently third in the Region 5-AAA standings behind Cartersville and Gordon Central, two of the other teams Sonoraville still has to play. LFO is also left on the schedule for the Phoenix.
“(Adairsville) is a good team,” said Gentry. “They put up 70 points on North Murray, so that tells you something about their offense. I think we’ll be able to do some things that help us against them, but we have to play sound defense and be where we’re supposed to be on the field.
“I think we’re going to have a great week of practice, and we’re going to work hard to prepare for them. Even though we’re 1-5, the kids’ attitude is still good, and they’re listening and working hard.”
The Phoenix, who lost 41-7 to Ringgold in their last game on Oct. 5 just before the bye, should get a few of their injured players back in the lineup after time to recuperate during the bye week. While Gentry said the injuries aren’t going to be used as an excuse for the tough start to the season, they sure didn’t help matters.
“When you lose as many guys as we have, you just don’t have any depth, and you’re just trying to patch things together,” said Gentry.
“But the kids that are playing haven’t lost their spirit, and we are ready for these last four games. We’re going to face four tough teams and would like to be a spoiler somewhere in there. We still believe we can do some good things, and last week helped us to get away from it. So the kids are coming back this week ready to get after it.”
The Phoenix are 1-5 all-time against Adairsville, including a 38-14 loss last year on the road. Gentry said this game will be heavily affected by how his team plays on special teams, an area that wasn’t very good in last year’s loss to the Tigers.
“Last year we gave up a few punt returns, so special teams is going to be a big part of this game,” said Gentry. “It’s going to be a lot of assignment football, and we’ve got to make sure we do our assignments.
“All we can do is get better, and that’s what we’re going to try to do on Friday night.”
The Phoenix had every break go against them in the first half of the season on the field and in the injury department so the bye was a welcomed sight not only for the time off but also as a chance to close the book on that bad string of luck.
Adairsville is one of the five or six teams in the region competing for a playoff berth so the Phoenix would like nothing more than to go in and pull off an upset.
Look for Sonoraville to play improved football this Friday and play a competitive ballgame on the road.
Adairsville 24, Sonoraville 17