Lions take on Eagles

Victory Christian head coach Bruce Breland (right) will look to get his second win of the season against Appalachian on Friday night.

EDEN -- Victory Christian’s football team will play host to Class 1A, Region 5 foe Appalachian at Richard Adams Stadium on Friday night at 7.

The Lions clipped the Eagles 40-12 in 2018. Victory Christian leads the all-time series 6-3.

Both teams were left out in the cold come playoff time a year ago. The Lions got demonstrably younger as a whole in 2019, while Appalachian has soared to a 3-0 start, which includes the program’s first-ever win over Talladega County Central (the Eagles won 44-6).

Here are four things to know about the upcoming game:

Slowing down Appalachian

The Eagles (3-0, 1-0) enter the contest averaging 42.3 points per game, and Lions head coach Bruce Breland said he doesn’t think the Eagles are going to overlook the Lions.

“They’re a well-coached football team and they play good ball,” he said. “I think it’s too early in the season for them to be overlooking somebody. We definitely have to be ready Friday night.

“They do a great job of throwing and catching, and their line is very physical. The thing that worries me is they’ll be able to throw the ball around and catch the ball that they throw, which will loosen up their running game if they decide to go back to that. They mix it up really good. They’re not just a passing team.”

Riding momentum and finding faith

Victory Christian (1-1, 0-0) claimed its first win of the season over Gaylesville 20-12 in Week 2.

Breland said it was good to get that first victory.

“After Fayetteville (a 20-6 loss Aug. 30) and not performing like I thought we should -- and that’s not taking anything away from Fayetteville -- winning definitely always helps,” he said. “It helps them practice the next week. It helps them believe in what they’re doing, particularly going into the game Friday night. We better believe in what we’re doing because (Appalachian is) a mighty good football team.”

Noticeable improvements

Breland said his team did a better job with fundamentals in Week 2 than in Week 1.

“I think, even though we worked all summer long on fundamentals, that first game, we did not do a good job of carrying it into the ballgame,” he said. “The other night against Gaylesville, we carried more fundamentals in, but we still made an awful lot of mistakes, a lot more than we should be making in Game 2. Those are all correctable errors, and our guys know the mistakes. They know they’re making them. We’ve just got to keep cleaning it up and getting better.”

Still seeking leaders

With such a young roster, Breland said he preaches leadership everyday to his squad, but the message hasn’t quite been received by everyone.

“We’d like to have more of them step up than what we have right now,” Breland said. “We’ve got a couple of them that are stepping up. I tell them all the time that they don’t have to be a senior to lead, but we would love to have all our seniors take pride and be leaders on the team. Unfortunately, we have not gotten there yet.”