“We’re just going to focus on us.”
The game plan for the last bye week of the regular season comes down to Pierce County getting ready for possibly eight consecutive weeks of playing football in its quest to defend the 2020 Class AAA state title.
The fifth-ranked Bears (5-2 overall, 1-0 Region 1-AAA) are getting a break after a grueling four-week stretch of Clinch County, Fitzgerald, Rabun County and last week’s region opener against Brantley County.
All that’s left in the regular season are much-improved Long County (October 22 — 3-4 record) and Tattnall County (October 29 — 5-1), and a season-finale showdown with fourth-ranked Appling County (November 5 — 7-0) in what could possible be for the region championship provided each takes of business until then.
“We need this week for a lot of reasons,” said head coach Ryan Herring. “We’ve got a lot of guys playing a lot of plays. We’re beat up and tired.”
The third-year head coach did not gather the troops as usual Sunday instead opting to gather his club Monday.
“We’re just going to do some lifting, get in some running drills and watch film,” said Herring. “We’ll get on the practice field Tuesday through Thursday and have a light, quick day on Friday.”
The head coach said the staff will look at making corrections in areas the team is struggling in and cleaning up some other things.
“We’ll look at anything new we can implement,” Herring stated, “but the biggest thing is trying to get healthy. We’ve got three offensive linemen that have nagging injuries and hopefully they can get healed up.”
Offensively, the Bears are scoring at a 26.0 clip putting up 244.2 yards per game with 191 yards coming on the ground. PCHS alternates seniors Daytin Baker (308 yards), Donelius Johnson (247), Danarius Johnson (200) and junior D.J. Bell (123). Each has a long run of at least 24 yards with the longest covering 71.
PCHS’s play-action passing attack is averaging 35.4 yards per completion (nine) with five touchdowns. All five receivers are averaging better than 24 yards per catch.
Pierce County’s run defense has been one of the stingiest in the state allowing 3.1 yards per attempt and 76.1 per game. Six of the first seven foes have been held to 185 yards or less of total offense.
The Bears, who are allowing 9.6 points per game with three shutouts, have held four of seven teams to 78 yards or less rushing with a season-best mark of minus-37 yards to Claxton.
PCHS also has 63 tackles behind the line of scrimmage to go along with 25 sacks and 50 hurries by quarterbacks. Pierce County has forced eight turnovers with five interceptions and three fumble recoveries and are plus-four in the turnover margin.
The Bears have forced 29 punts with teams converting just 13-of-55 (24 percent) on third down tries. Opponents are 3-of-9 (33%) on fourth down plays.