Hoyas, Devils face crucial contests
by MDJ staff reports
October 24, 2013 11:05 PM | 2466 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lorenzo Nunez (19) will try to lead Harrison past Hillgrove in a key Region 4AAAAAA contest tonight. The Hoyas have a rough closing stretch to the season, playing the Hawks, McEachern and Marietta in their final three games.
Lorenzo Nunez (19) will try to lead Harrison past Hillgrove in a key Region 4AAAAAA contest tonight. The Hoyas have a rough closing stretch to the season, playing the Hawks, McEachern and Marietta in their final three games.
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Game: Harrison (5-2, 4-1) at Hillgrove (6-1, 4-1), 7:30 p.m.

Last year: Hillgrove 41, Harrison 14

All-time series: Hillgrove leads 3-0

Prediction: Hillgrove 20, Harrison 10

Harrison and Hillgrove are in a three-way tie for second place in Region 4AAAAAA with McEachern. and behind North Cobb.

Harrison, after getting off to a strong start in region play, is about to enter its toughest portion of the schedule. The grueling stretch starts with the Hoyas playing at Hillgrove, and they will be at home against McEachern and Marietta to end the regular season.

“We spoke about that stretch when the season started and right now, we’re focusing on one game at a time,” Harrison coach Matt Dickmann said. “We knew those three would be right there. They are all good teams and very well coached. You have to take them one step at a time.”

If the Hoyas are unsuccessful against Hillgrove and McEachern, their playoff chances could come down to the regular-season finale against Marietta.

Although Harrison is on a two-game winning streak, the Hoyas are still focusing on limiting turnovers on offense.

They showed signs of consistency in their 42-17 win over Harrison behind quarterback Lorenzo Nunez, who had 251 all-purpose yards, a game-high 102 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

— By Adam Carrington

acarrington@mdjonline.com

Game: North Cobb (6-1, 5-0) at Pebblebrook (2-5, 0-5), 7:30 p.m.

Last year: North Cobb 45, Pebblebrook 0

All-time series: North Cobb leads 14-6

Prediction: North Cobb 35, Pebblebrook 7

North Cobb has been near-flawless since Region 4AAAAAA play began.

The Warriors are in the driver’s seat after beating two of the region’s strongest teams in back-to-back weeks — a 27-17 win over Hillgrove and a 28-26 win over then No. 2 McEachern.

With the Warriors on an emotional high, they know they can’t afford to go into a lull against Pebblebrook, which is still searching for its first region win.

“After a big win like that, our kids have come out and worked hard,” North Cobb coach Shane Queen said. “Pebblebrook is a good team and they’ve been in a lot of games.”

The Warriors got away with three turnovers against McEachern, with two coming on Tyler Queen interceptions. They’re also looking to cut down on their eight penalties for 65 yards.

The Warriors turned the ball over on downs three times in the red zone against McEachern.

But if North Cobb can continue to be explosive on offense, it will be in good shape.

Queen threw for 268 yards and two touchdowns against the Indians. J’Vonte Herrod rushed for 189 yards and a score, and Cam Albright caught a fourth-quarter interception that was arguably the turning point of the game.

— By Adam Carrington

acarrington@mdjonline.com

Game: Kennesaw Mountain (1-6, 0-6) at Campbell (3-5, 1-5), 7:30 p.m.

Last year: Kennesaw Mountain 42, Campbell 21

All-time series: Kennesaw Mountain leads 6-3

Prediction: Campbell 35, Kennesaw Mountain 28

When Campbell’s Gaiyon Reavish jogs onto the field tonight with his Spartans’ teammates as they prepare to face Kennesaw Mountain in Region 4AAAAAA action, don’t be surprised to hear “Here I come to save the day!” blaring from the speakers of McDaniel Stadium.

The quote comes from the lyrics to the theme song for Mighty Mouse, a superhero mouse cartoon character.

Nicknamed Mighty Mouse back when he played football in the seventh grade in Ohio, Reavish lives up to the moniker because his height and weight belittles the strength, determination and leadership he’s shown on the field each week. And what he’s done on the field can be interpreted as saving the day for Campbell.

At 5-foot-7 and 165 pounds, Reavish is in his first season Campbell’s starting inside linebacker, a position he’d never really played before this season.

The senior is not only performing well in his duties, he’s excelling and leads Cobb County with 106 total tackles, including 57 solo.

“I didn’t expect to be the fulltime starter at this position because I hadn’t played it before,” Reavish said. “I’m a pretty physical player, and I think that works in my favor. I react quickly to the ball, and I’m in the weight room a lot to help offset my size.”

Reavish was a junior varsity running back during his sophomore and junior seasons at Campbell. As part of spring varsity tryouts, coach Harris Rainbow typically has players play offense and defense to gauge their abilities.

“When (Reavish) was on the second-team defense, he was making plays against the first-team offense,” Rainbow said. “I asked our defensive coordinator, ‘Why he isn’t playing on defense?’

“From that point on, I really couldn’t get him out of the (inside linebacker) position. He has a small stature, but he makes plays, he’s a great leader and all the kids listen to him. He has great character, embodies what a team is all about and he’s overcome the odds.”

Reavish understands his success isn’t due solely because of what he does on the field.

“My defensive line and my trainer, Marcus Page, they’re a big reason for my success.”

— By Carlton D. White

cwhite@mdjonline.com

Game: South Cobb (2-5, 2-3) at Marietta (5-2, 3-2), 7:30 p.m.

Last year: Marietta 43, South Cobb 13

All-time series: Marietta leads 23-11-1

Prediction: Marietta 38, South Cobb 14

Whether Marietta is scoring touchdowns or field goals, it is almost certain that opponents will not be responding on special teams because of Ian Shannon.

Tonight, South Cobb will more than likely experience Shannon’s underrated impact when the Eagles visit the Blue Devils.

Just after kickoff, Shannon definitely will not be racing down the field to make a highlight worthy tackle, but Marietta’s junior kicker will have the referee signaling for a touchback.

“Ian is a weapon for sure,” Marietta coach Scott Burton said. “This is only his second year he has been on a football field, so he is still very new to the game and still learning what he’s doing, but obviously he is a huge weapon.”

Last week, in the Blue Devils’ 44-24 win against Campbell, Shannon only had one kickoff returned and connected on field goals from 46, 40 and 33 yards. For the year, he has made 9 of 11 field goals, 30 of 33 extra points and Shannon is leading the county in points from a kicker with 57.

“When the weather begins to present challenges and you’re playing quality opponents, people sometimes overlook special teams but we don’t,” Burton said. “When you have a weapon like Ian, and when called upon, he is certainly ready to deliver, and he’s done a great job doing that.”

According to Burton, Shannon also tied the school record of nine field goals in a season last week.

— By Maurice Dixon

MDJ Sports Writer

Game: Walton (4-3, 3-1) at Milton (5-2, 2-2), 7:30 p.m. TV: GPB

Last year: Walton 27, Wheeler 7

All-time series: Walton leads series 13-3

Prediction: Walton 28, Milton 24

Walton is in its usual position among the leaders in Region 5AAAAAA — tied with Etowah and Lassiter for the top spot.

But the Raiders had to bounce back from a slow start to reach that position, winning four out of their last five games after losing their first two of the season.

Maintaining their place in the battle for the top spot in 5AAAAAA is what Walton is aiming for as it goes on the road to face region foe Milton tonight.

While it can be argued that Walton has flown under the radar a little bit with its slow start and the strong starts by 5AAAAAA co-leader Etowah and contender Milton, coach Rocky Hidlago said its business as usual for a Raider program that is used to being among the region elites.

“People look at us, at the tradition and history of who we are, and we get everybody’s best effort every week,” Hidalgo said. “I don’t care about (flying under the radar). I care about how we’re playing. We’re not playing the caliber of football that we’re capable of right now. I feel like if we play 48 good minutes of football, we have a chance to beat anybody in the region.”

— By Greg Oshust

MDJ Sports Writer

Game: Lassiter (4-3, 3-1) at Wheeler (2-5, 0-4), 7:30 p.m.

Last year: Lassiter 38, Wheeler 23

All-time series: Lassiter leads 14-21-1

Prediction: Lassiter 42, Wheeler 21

Sporting a 1-1 Region 5AAAAAA record, Lassiter entered into a big game against Walton in Raider Valley and came away with a significant

28-21 victory. Following their bye, the Trojans returned to action and dismantled Milton.

Back-to-back region 5AAAAAA wins, coupled with Etowah’s loss to Cherokee last week, has left Lassiter back in the driver’s seat in the region standings. With three games remaining on the season, including tonight’s matchup at Wheeler, should the Trojans win out, they will be region champions in consecutive seasons.

“We always feel like we’re in control of our destiny,” Lassiter coach Jep Irwin said. “As long as we keep playing hard, I feel like we’re always in control of our fate.”

Lassiter’s approach could prove beneficial over its final three games. The Trojans are going against teams with a combined region record of

5-7. Lassiter is at Wheeler (0-4) and at Roswell (2-2) and concludes the second concludes at home versus Etowah (3-1).

Tempering expectations on another region title now should help Lassiter in the long run as it closes out the season.

“We’re determined not to get too high or too low over the course of the end of the season,” Irwin said. “We have to go week to week and not look too far ahead. It’s about limiting distractions and staying focused.

“We’re doing the little things a whole lot better. We’re not turning the ball over, not giving up big plays, we’re making big plays, we’re making tackles and we’ve been sound in the kicking game. Our receivers are getting into a rhythm with (quarterback) Will Anderson and hitting their stride. It’s been really positive in all three phases.”

— By Carlton D. White

cwhite@mdjonline.com

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