On paper, Frederica Academy has the weapons to outgun a struggling Trinity Christian when the programs square off in Dublin today at 7:30 p.m.
But with all that’s at stake, Knights head coach Brandon Derrick knows his team no longer has the luxury of overlooking a region opponent.
“For us, that loss to Pinewood kind of started putting everything in perspective,” Derrick said. “We can’t overlook anybody. We’ve got to get ourselves prepared to go and play.
“The kids have done a pretty good job. They’ve stayed pretty focused.”
Trinity Christian (2-4, 0-1) has had a down season this year with its only two wins coming against a pair of programs in Westwood and Augusta Prep that are a combined 1-13. In its four losses, the Crusaders have been outscored 152-27, including a 16-14 loss to the Westfield team Frederica Academy (3-3, 1-1) crushed last week.
Despite injuries to key players and some first-half adversity in the form of turnovers and penalties, the Knights racked up 326 total yards of offense en route to a 44-10 victory.
“I thought last week they fought through some adversity at Westfield, and we’re probably going to see some similar adversity, I’m sure, at Trinity,” Derrick said. “We have to be ready to battle, make some adjustments, and play through it.”
Frederica Academy will be healthier this week with Josh Elliott and D’Kel Walker returning to the lineup, and it could be the boost it needs to roll to another blowout.
Elliott is one of the Knights’ best offensive linemen and a key communicator up front, while Walker gives the team another back to rotate into its offensive backfield.
“Those two guys being back gives us a little more depth and helps us out,” Derrick said.
Both Elliott and Walker also play linebacker on defense, which could be where there impact could be felt the most at the end of the season.
If things break right over the final four weeks, Frederica Academy could position itself in a three-way tie for first place in the GISA’s Region 2-3A.
Frederica must win out, and Bullock Academy needs to beat Pinewood Christian on the road this evening, to lock the three teams into a tie atop the region standings at 3-1. In that scenario, the first tiebreaker would be points allowed in region play.
The Knights understand that, not only do they need to win their final two region games, beginning with Trinity Christian, but they need to play top-notch defense while doing so.
“I think they understand that,” Derrick said. “They know we’ve got to go out, play really, really good on defense, hold our opponents to a minimum, and give ourselves a chance to win that last one and put ourselves in the position to be the region champs maybe.”