The 2014 season has been a roller coaster ride for the Lithia Springs football team. The Lions opened the year with high hopes of slowly changing the school’s football culture, but change so large, does not come without its setbacks, and takes time to come to fruition.
Lithia opened the season with an offensive slugfest at Landmark, a game in which the Lions lost, 48-36. Lithia then picked up their first win in over a year when they defeated Chapel Hill, 27-7.
After suffering a blowout loss to Allatoona, the Lions played perhaps their best game of the season in a 24-14 loss to Alexander. However, they took a 41-9 thrashing against Hiram, but rebounded with a close Homecoming loss to Villa Rica, 27-20. The VR game was one the Lions could and probably should have won. Last week, the Lions suffered their worst loss of the year, falling to East Paulding, 57-0.
"We just didn't play well and after practicing a week, there was a lot I thought we could do", said Lithia head coach Craig Chatman after the game with EPHS. “They just stopped us. They just wore us out up front on both sides of the ball.”
East Paulding jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and led 30-0 by halftime. They were up by 44 points at the end of the third quarter.
Lithia currently sits ninth in the region with a 1-6 overall record and 1-5 region record. The placement is fitting with the Lions ranking ninth in offensive and defensive production. Lithia is averaging 16 points per game and allowing 35.
South Paulding could prove even more challenging than East Paulding. The Spartans are currently tied for second in the region with Alexander at 5-1. They are 6-1 overall. South Paulding is fourth in points per game with 30 and fourth in points allowed with 20 per game. The Spartans are on a three game winning streak, and are coming off a 47-0 shutout victory at Chapel Hill.
South Paulding likes to throw the ball a lot and are led by quarterback Jake Oglesby, who has completed 128-of-211 passes for 1,821 yards and 17 touchdowns. He is prone to the pick, throwing 10 interceptions so far. The Spartans also have a capable running back in Kameron Watts. Watts has rushed 86 times for 583 yards and five TDs.
Defensively, the team is led by Dawson Mitchell. The middle linebacker has a team high 60 tackles, including 45 solo and six for a loss.
Lithia lost to SPHS last year, 28-12. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. at Lithia Springs.