Lakeside (2-0) at Beekman (0-2), Friday, 7 p.m.
Beekman Charter's football team will no longer have to board a bus for home games. Making their long-awaited home debut, the Tigers take on the Sibley Lakeside Warriors on Friday night. Keith Huntsman Field will be dedicated at 6:45 p.m., followed by opening kickoff at 7.
For the past four years, the Tigers have played their "home" games 20 miles away at Delta Junior High's Mustang Corral. Friday night's game will be played on the BCS campus as workers scrambled to have the new facility ready in time for the Tigers' home opener.
"I just hope we can make a good showing for the fans and make the school proud," Beekman coach Wade McDonald said.
As for the game, Beekman (0-2) has its work cut out against the much-improved Warriors (2-0).
Snapping a 23-game losing streak, Lakeside dismantled Ringgold 68-0 in its season opener, followed by a 38-14 victory over Montgomery last week.
Sophomore quarterback Jordan Preuett has played a key role in the Warriors' resurgence under first-year head coach Jason McClendon. Off to a hot start, the 6-3, 175-pound Preuett has completed 22-of-36 passes for 395 yards with six touchdowns — three in both games — and a pair of interceptions. He has also rushed for 56 yards and 2 TDs.
"Lakeside is going to spread it out," McDonald said. "They like to throw deep."
Chase Mitchell is the Warriors' leading receiver with eight receptions for 144 yards (18 yards per catch). Mitchell is complemented by Gage Jones, a vertical threat who has made his limited touches count. Averaging a staggering 25.5 yards per catch, Jones has caught four passes for 102 yards and three scores.
Buffate Coleman (19 carries, 166 yards, 1 TD) and Brian Jackson Jr. (14-107-1), a 6-2, 245-pound bruiser, form a solid tandem in the backfield.
Leading the way defensively for the Warriors are linebacker Jayke Stewart and cornerbacks Tyrese Miles and Tyreke Loftin.
Coming off of back-to-back losses at the hands of LaSalle (7-6) and Homer (28-6), the Tigers are still trying to get untracked offensively.
Cobe Matthews broke off an 80-yard touchdown return on the opening kickoff for the Tigers' lone score against Homer.
Running backs Taron Tayler and Johnny Gipson and receivers Chad Jones and Zeb Morgan are Beekman's key offensive players.
Beekman's offensive woes last week were, to a large degree, self-inflicted as turnovers and penalties derailed series after series. One positive that came out of the Homer game was the improvement of the offensive line from Week 1 to Week 2. Encouraged by the Tigers' play up front, McDonald has tweaked the offense this week.
"We have changed up a few things offensively," McDonald said. "We have gone back to doing some of the things we did last year. I wasn't sure we were going to be able to do that, but with the way our offensive line is coming along, I think we can handle it."
Linebacker Lucas Lara has amassed 37 tackles to set the tone for the Tigers defensively. Seth Meyers (21 tackles), Willie Williams (19 tackles, 1 interception), end Dalon Moore (18 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack) and linebacker James Foster (12 tackles, 4 TFL) have also been major contributors.
As the number of tackles would indicate, the defense has been overworked.
"I'm hoping the changes we have made on offense will help us keep the ball a little longer," McDonald said.
Beekman wraps up pre-District 2-2A play next week at Vidalia before returning home to face Mangham on Sept. 29.