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Devine intervention

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- It's not how good Monroe's offense is today, it's how good the Tornadoes want it to be -- that's the attitude they have this season.

"We want to have the best offense in Georgia,'' said junior quarterback Devine Noel, who threw four TD passes and ran for another in Monroe's season opening 32-12 victory against Terrell County this past Friday.

But Noel isn't taking any bows. He's handing this one off to Monroe's new offensive coordinator, Chris Wade.

"I love him,'' Noel said. "I love this offense.''

Why not? Monroe has one of the biggest offensive lines in Southwest Georgia, a mobile quarterback, a tailback who returns after gaining more than 1,100 yards and dangerous receivers.

That's what the Tornadoes will take into tonight's home opener against Northeast, Macon at 7 p.m. at Hugh Mills in a rare Thursday game.

Monroe's offense looked more than ready to start the season last week when the Tornadoes scored the first three times they touched the ball. But now it's Game 2 against a bigger, faster opponent that matches up well against Monroe.

"(Northeast is) very fast and very athletic,'' Monroe coach Charles Truitt said Wednesday. "They've got good receivers and good defensive backs. The key to the game is to be aggressive and not give up the big play. We can't give up the big play. They have that kind of speed.''

Northeast's speed might motivate Monroe.

"I like playing a fast team,'' said Monroe receiver Trey Lane, who caught two TD passes in the opener. "It makes everyone better. They're pretty quick, but I believe we can match up speedwise.''

Northeast (0-1) lost to Class A Twiggs, 13-9, last week in a heartbreaker that saw the Raiders drive inside the 20 in the final minutes before losing. Monroe has a bit of a history against Northeast, which dropped from Class AAA to Class AA in 2008. Monroe beat Northeast 25-12 in 2007, and beat the Raiders twice in '06, winning a regular season game, 24-13, before beating the Raiders, 35-13, in the playoffs.

Truitt just hopes his offense keeps playing well.

"I was pleasantly surprised with our offense,'' he said. "I think we are a little ahead of schedule. (Noel) had a good game, and the players rallied around him. We moved the football, and the defense played real well the second half.''

Monroe didn't allow a point in the second half against Terrell County and Truitt said defensive tackle "Derrell Price had a marvelous game for us.''

Truitt did his best to cope with the short week to get ready for the Thursday game. He brought the team in on Sunday to look at film, and made Monday's practice a full workout day.

"We got a lot accomplished,'' Truitt said. "By bringing them in on Sunday, it feels like a regular week.''

The fast start in the opener could carry over into tonight's game.

"Playing the way we did just makes me feel more confident in myself and in the team,'' said Noel, who completed 8-of-20 passes for 176 yards. "It made us ready for the next game. We want to keep getting better. We have to keep the tempo of the offense going.

"We know that they are quick,'' he said of Northeast. "We know we have to bring our A game. It's going to feel great playing at home.''

The last time Monroe was at Hugh Mills was two weeks ago when Lee County surprised Monroe with a 45-30 victory in a scrimmage just before the season started. That scrimmage might have ignited Monroe.

"That was an early wake-up call for the season,'' Lane

said. "We didn't like that losing feeling. We won the first game, now we want to keep it going.''