Trying to get back to the intensity they displayed during a season-best four-game win streak earlier this year, the Lions (4-3) - a first-year program - are scheduled to take on the McDonough-based school’s junior varsity (2-1).
“I’ve been told they’re mostly seventh and eighth graders,” McClelland said of People’s Baptist.
Just the same, being a first-year program, the bulk of Faith Christian’s starters are mostly freshmen and sophomores who had never played organized football until this season. Their starting quarterback, Brandon Ray, is an eighth grader. Furthermore, FCA - which is out of school this week for the fall break - will be playing without five of its players, including several starters, who are either injured or on vacation.
Psychologically the Lions are five days removed from their worst loss of the season, 78-14, to undefeated Barrow County Christian Academy.
“We are using it as a lesson,” McClelland said of Friday’s game against the Saints. “They exposed a lot of weak spots on our defense.”
The absence of fie players in practice this week has also hampered the team’s effort to turn the loss into a learning experience.
“We have several starters on vacation, so we can’t do a lot of work on it,” said McClelland, whose team was down to about 15 players - too few to have a meaningful practice. “We’re just trying to get through this game because we don’t have a lot of people playing.”
With that said, McClelland and his staff want to see the Lions work on two things this week: Firing off the ball and coming ready to play.
“We’re really going to work with the boys on firing off the ball this week,” said McClelland. “That was one of the things this past week - they were beating us off the line on both sides of the ball.”
Another thing McClelland wants to see his team improve upon is showing up to play from the opening whistle. The Lions trailed 20-0 last week by the end of the first quarter.
“The jumped on us and rightfully so,” said McClelland. “We didn’t show up- and when you’re getting jumped on that big there’s nothing you can do.”