WAYNESBORO, Ga. — Burke County knows there’s more to the Allatoona offense than 2,000-yard rusher Miles Jones.
The Buccaneers are big up front and bruising fullback Robert Johnson is a throwback. Without them, Jones’ numbers wouldn’t be the same.
But make no mistake: the Bears need to stop Jones, and they’re ready for contact.
“He hasn’t been hit like he’s going to be hit (tonight),” Orlando Howard said.
Burke County (11-1) is looking to advance to the Class AAA state semifinals for the second consecutive year. A win would also give Burke County coach Eric Parker his fourth semifinal appearance in his head coaching career. Allatoona is in its fourth year of existence.
Parker, calling Allatoona the biggest group his players will face this year, said the Buccaneers have the potential to be a ball-control offense. To limit the amount of defensive plays, Parker said the Bears must win the early downs and force Allatoona to step away from what it wants to do. In other words, force it to throw on third down.
When Burke County gets the ball, it will continue to change formations and personnel at a fast pace.
In scoring 108 points the past three games, the Bears have committed zero turnovers despite rushing the ball 166 times and attempting 34 passes. Quarterbacks Corey Mayton and Donquell Green and running back Montres Kitchens have done most of the damage.
Burke County knew it was likely to be in this spot, considering it has a veteran bunch and returned playmakers from the 11-3 team a year ago.
“Our first goal was to win a region championship,” Derwin Butler said. “Our second goal is the state championship.”
The Bears accomplished the first task when they beat Thomson, 31-8. The second is still on the to-do list, but after making the semifinals in 2010, Parker’s bunch knows what it’s going to take.
“It’s a big deal, setting that goal and having the kids believe it,” Parker said. “We know what championship-caliber football is about. We saw it, experienced it and felt it.”