Wes McCard Sports Editor
September 27, 2013
After missing nine key players in last week’s 34-13 victory over Central-Macon, the Upson-Lere Knights’ bye week could not be coming at a better time. Several players missed last week’s game due to injuries or a one game suspension for a fight during the Eagles Landing game two weeks ago.
Upson-Lee will have a chance to rest up this week before taking on Spalding next Friday night in Griffin in their sub-region opener. Spalding is currently 0-3 so far and takes on a Dutchtown team in Griffin tonight that is scoring over 38 points per game.
The Knights showed a little different look last week against Central-Macon offensively, with Kalen Puckett split out wide as a receiver and running back Kenderius Pennyman in the shotgun with Sontrell Perry and Malik Crafter on each side. The Knights compiled a season high 342 yards rushing in the game, and scored a season high 34 points.
Upson-Lee will use this bye week to expand on their offense with that personnel, taking some of the pressure off of 15-year-old quarterback Kalen Puckett. The freshman threw his first touchdown pass last week and finished with 71 yards rushing on just eight carries.
Defensively the Knights bounced back last week after allowing a season high 34 points to Eagles Landing two weeks ago. UL sophomore David Marshall and senior Chris Duncan held the Chargers’ offense in check. Marshall currently leads the team with 20 tackles, 8 assists, and 12 tackles for a loss. The Knights also welcomed back senior Toby Fuentes last week after he suffered a concussion in the Stockbridge game. Fuentes finished the game with two interceptions on defense, caught a 56- yard TD pass, and returned the opening kick off for an 88-yard touchdown.
While the Knights are off tonight, there are a couple of key games to keep an eye on in Region 4. The No. 4 state ranked Griffin Bears travel to Henry County to take on the No. 3 state ranked Stockbridge Tigers. This match-ups pits the region’s top offensive team against the region’s top defensive team. The Bears are averaging over 41 points per game, while the Tigers stingy defense has held opponents to just over 5 points per game. The Knights lost a tough game up in Stockbridge by a 15-8 score, and will travel to Griffin to play the Bears on Oct. 25.
Another game the Knights and Upson-Lee fans may want to keep an eye on is also in Henry County. The Riverdale Raiders travel to McDonough to face the Eagles Landing Golden Eagles in what could be a high scoring affair. The Raiders are coming off two tough losses in the last two weeks. Two weeks ago the Raiders lost in overtime to Grady by a 35-34 score, and last week the Raiders and their new head coach Terry Herrod lost to Dutchtown 49-28. Herrod was the defensive coordinator at Dutchtown last season.
The Raiders are 2-2 but are averaging nearly 35 points per game, while the Golden Eagles average just under 30 points per game. Eagles Landing defeated Upson-Lee two weeks ago at Matthews Field by a 34-7 score.
The Knights first two sub-region games this season are against Spalding and North Clayton, teams which have yet to win a game so far in 2013. The last three games for the Knights come against Riverdale, Griffin and Jonesboro, and all three games could have playoff implications.