The second-year coach's Rebels (4-4, 2-3 Region 4-AAA) are right in the playoff hunt in 4-AAA, but a loss could take postseason possibilities out of their hands. On the flipside, a win would set up a chance for HC to play itself into the playoffs with a win against Jackson, Atlanta next week.
Chapel Hill (4-3, 3-1) comes into the game in a similar situation. The Panthers have a win in hand over the Rebels, but still have three games left. Those games include Friday night's meeting in Haralson County and a visit from Central.
"I haven't really charted it all out, but I'm pretty sure if we don't win this we don't have a chance to get in. It's down to the wire with us. I think if we win we have a chance. But if we lose, we have to have somebody else to lose. I haven't looked at it, but that's usually how it is this time of year," Lane said.
Mostly a running team through the first six games of the season, that approach adjusted a little for Chapel Hill in last week's 28-7 win against B.E.S.T. Academy. The Panthers were without running back Tre Mitchell and used their passing game with quarterback Brett Roberts more than usual along with Jamarcus Morrissette taking over the ground game.
It worked out well, as Morrissette rushed for two scores and more than 100 yards, while Roberts added his first touchdown pass of the season.
"I've watched them and I've seen them in person, they throw the ball a lot even when [Mitchell] was in. They look good. I'm sure that back will be back healthy and well by the time they run into us. I've seen their quarterback. He's not bad. He's pretty solid. Has a real good short game and has a presence with the long ball. [Roberts] is formidable, and that back-up back is pretty good, too," Lane said.
While Chapel Hill is coming off its second straight win, the Rebels are in a situation four other region opponents have already been in this season — playing the week after a loss to Callaway. While the 40-7 score doesn't reflect a close game on paper, Lane has some confidence coming out of the game, aside from the turnovers.
"Offensively, we were able to do some things that we thought we could. What we didn't expect was the five fumbles and two interceptions. If you take those out, it might have been a little different ball game. They might have done some things to stop us or slow us down in some areas, but we had over 300 yards rushing. We haven't been able to do that in any of our games, but whenever you put the ball on a ground against a team that can be explosive, [you can't win]," Lane said.
Friday night will be the second-to-last regular-season game for the Rebels and the home finale and Lane hopes the home crowd, home field and festivities can help lift his team. Home has been good to HC so far this season, going 3-1 with the lone loss against Bowdon in the home opener.
"I think this year we've actually played pretty well at home. There's been some games that we have done well away, but I think we end up playing a little better at home," Lane said. "It's the last home game and Senior Night, but we're down to our last two games. The last week of the season we're open. We have to find a way to put a complete game together, because Chapel Hill is good."