For Kennesaw Mountain, its strong victory over Sprayberry to begin the 2012 campaign, coupled with a last minute loss to South Cobb last week, has the Mustangs looking for respect.
The “Civil War Classic” could determine who gets what when the Mustangs visit the Warriors tonight at Emory Sewell Stadium.
“Probably the biggest thing is our kids know their kids and their kids know our kids,” said Kennesaw Mountain first-year coach Andy Scott, whose team trails 8-2 in the rivalry and has dropped the last three contests in the series. “They eat in the same places, get their haircuts at the same places and shop at the same places. It’s the proximity of the schools to one another and the sense of pride each player has in playing for your neighborhood. I’m excited to be a part of this rivalry.”
North Cobb coach Shane Queen will be participating in his seventh “Civil War Classic,” and he finds the timing of the game just as critical as the matchup itself.
“In the big scheme of things, this game has much more meaning than last week,” Queen said. “We’re preaching to the kids about how this is our first region game, and it’s the most important game. Once the Walton game ended, all we did was talk about the next game, and to start out 1-0 in the region. To do that, we’re going to have to beat a much improved Kennesaw Mountain team that’s a play away from being 2-0.
“This may be the ‘Civil War Classic,’ but it’s much more important to get started off right in the region and take care of the task at hand.”
North Cobb’s 2-0 start is its first since 2007, and much like that record-setting year that saw the Warriors go 10-0 in the regular season, North Cobb’s offensive and defensive balance has been the key. The Warriors totaled 30 or more points and limited opponents to less than 10 per game in their first two games of 2007. This year’s units have scored more than 40 points per contest, while holding teams to 10 points per outing.
“North Cobb’s overall athleticism is really something we have to look out for,” Scott said. “They’re blessed on the perimeter with a number of fast and athletic kids. They play assignment football, and they’re good from top to bottom.”
A big reason for North Cobb’s early-season success is the play of senior wide receiver Xavier Borishade, who’s amassed 313 yards and five touchdowns in two games, along with one kickoff return for a score.
“He is such a great competitor,” Queen said. “He’s a good classroom kid that’s blue collar when it comes to doing things. He’ll dive for balls in practice and runs through people no matter what’s going on. Xavier is a coach’s dream, and he’s a great team guy.”
Kennesaw Mountain has a weapon too in senior quarterback Dallin Finley. In his two games, Finley has rushed 32 times for 208 yards and three touchdowns.
“Dallin’s done an outstanding job leading us offensively,” Scott said. “He grasps what we’re trying to accomplish, and he’s growing as a player and a leader for us.”
While the offense has been solid behind Finley, the Mustangs defense needs a little work with teams averaging 26 points per game in the early going.
“I think we’ve played fairly decently on defense,” Scott said. “We’ve played some good teams in our first two games and we have an opportunity to grow and get better each week. As long as we keep doing the little things right in all phases of the game, then we’ll continute to become a better football team.”
Queen also had good things to say about Kennesaw Mountain.
“They’ve done a great job moving the chains and eating clock,” he said. “Finley’s a guy who get you 100 yards and two touchdowns, so you always have to account for him. Our job (tonight) is keep their offense off the field and drive our offense to controlling time of possession.”