For Sprayberry (0-1) the game is a chance to bounce back from a heart-breaking 10-7 loss to Wheeler last Friday. The Mustangs — playing in their 2012 season opener — will try to end a 14-game losing streak and put a winless 2011 season in the distant past.
“You’re gonna see two teams that are a lot alike,” Sprayberry coach Billy Shackelford said. “We’re rebuilding and (Kennesaw Mountain is) trying to start building. We have similarities on both sides of the ball and both teams have a bunch of kids that are going to come out, play hard and really want to win.”
Shackelford’s Jackets have gotten the best of Kennesaw Mountain the past two years — winning 23-16 in 2010 and 30-28 at Kennesaw Mountain last fall. But this year’s Mustangs have a different look under new coach Andy Scott, scrapping last year’s pass-happy spread offense for an option-based running attack led by senior quarterback Dallin Finley, and shifting their defense to a 3-3-5 stack.
“We’re excited to get going and see how our kids look in a real game,” said Scott, whose team scrimmaged North Paulding — coached by former Kennesaw Mountain coach Scott Jones — losing 17-12 last Friday.
Scott said positives from that scrimmage were prevalent, namely the physical nature the Mustangs brought to the field.
“We competed well and our kids played with the heart, effort and physicalness needed to be the old-fashioned football team we want to be.”
“That’s the hope (against Sprayberry) — come out and play the tough brand of football needed to build us into a successful program.”
Scott added that the biggest challenge tonight would be attacking a front seven he considered to be one of the best on the Mustangs’ schedule.
To his point, Sprayberry held Wheeler’s offense to just three points last Friday and fewer than 200 total yards. Shackelford pointed to that defensive effort as a Week 1 highlight, but said they’ll need a more well-rounded game to get in the win column tonight.
“The key will be playing for four full quarters this week,” Shackelford said. “We can’t pick certain opportunities to play well. We’ll have to play four quarters of real good football to have a chance of beating (Kennesaw Mountain).”