We had another exciting week for our two teams here in Putnam County.
The Gatewood Gators were able to get the monkey off their backs and be on the right side of a blowout victory last week, defeating Trinity Christian-Dublin in a manner that fits the standard of excellence they have set for themselves. As for Putnam, it fought hard against a very talented Greene County team but, unfortunately for the Eagles, they fell in their first road game against a rival.
Speaking of rivals, Gatewood’s first outing with a rival school may not have gone very well, but another bitter enemy - Brentwood Academy - is just around the corner. The Gators will take their first road trip to Sandersville to take on the Eagles in what should be another exciting game.
Gatewood did everything better last week against Trinity. The Gators didn’t block against JMA, but they did against Trinity; they played poor defense against JMA, but were much improved last week; they weren’t good on special teams against the Trojans, but looked great last week against the Crusaders.
Although missed blocks, defensive struggles and turnovers were still an issues for the Gators, they played a much different ball game against Trinity. As I said last week, coach Jeff Ratliff knows how to coach and wouldn’t take the loss to JMA lying down, and he challenged his team to put that game behind, which is exactly what the Gators did.
Quarterback Luke Haley recovered from a concussion scare last week and showed up big for the Gators this week. As I’ve mentioned a few times in the past few weeks, he is developing very well for a sophomore who still has plenty of time with this program, and it’s good to see him on the field again.
It says a lot about a program when it responds to a 45-7 loss with a 43-0 blowout win the very next week. This Gator team still has a lot of work to do, but it is going in the right direction.
Sadly, things weren’t quite as fortunate for the War Eagles last Friday.
I had never been to Greene County High School before, so I was impressed with the Tigers’ facilities and also thrilled to be covering this rivalry for a second time. Last year’s Greene-Putnam game was fun, and this one had its moments, too.
The 31-14 defeat may not be the result this growing Putnam team wanted but, for much of this game, the Eagles held their own with a very talented Greene County team. Ethan Crouch continues to show he is the right man to be under center for the War Eagles and he used his legs to pick up some great plays for Putnam.
Jacquarias Waller continues to be a great offensive weapon as well, punching in the second of Putnam’s two touchdowns on the night. While the passing game may have ultimately been a weakness that night, Marcus Jefferson had a big catch early in the game to set up a Crouch keeper for a touchdown.
Defensively, there were several big moments for the Eagles. Raymond Lee’s tackle for loss and a joint effort by Jacobee Lane and Tevin Digby for a sack stalled the Tigers’ offense early, forcing them to settle for a field goal, while Marquez Maddox had another turnover this week when he recovered a late-game fumble.
Putnam County is on a bye this week, giving it plenty of time to iron out the kinks before facing a challenging opponent to begin region play when Rabun County comes to town. Putnam has some work to do, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to believe that the War Eagles can pick up a statement win against a strong team like the Wildcats.
We’re only a few weeks into the season and football is already creating some exciting moments this year. I look forward to continuing my coverage of Lake Country football, just as I’m sure you are all looking forward to more action on the gridiron.