Last Year: Kell 33, Creekview 29
All-time series: Kell leads 1-0
Prediction: Kell 42, Creekview 21
Creekview’s bye week came at an opportune time, given that the Grizzlies could have easily been winless entering Friday’s Region 7AAAAA crossover game at fourth-ranked Kell.
Creekview edged River Ridge 20-19 two weeks ago, giving coach Terry Crowder his first victory at the helm and preventing the 0-2 start.
Since then, the Grizzlies’ focus has been on figuring out a way to get win No. 2.
Lassiter had some success running the ball against Kell, totaling 110 yards on the ground. Crowder hopes Creekview can have success in that phase of the game, which would give his defense some rest and keep the Longhorns’ offense on the sidelines.
Kell’s victory over Lassiter was especially exciting for the Longhorns, who dropped a 42-13 decision to the Trojans last year. Following the win, Cook and his staff quickly turned their attention to Creekview, which the Longhorns beat by a narrow 33-29 margin a season ago.
“Having the bye week is definitely an advantage for (Creekview),” Cook said. “They have two weeks to get well and take care of any injuries and nicks and bumps, and they have all of that time to only prepare for us.”
Creekview will be a tough test for Kell, but so have the Longhorns’ previous three opponents, all of whom were Class AAAAAA teams.
“Our first three games prepared us for our region schedule,” Cook said. “It gave the guys experience, and to get to 3-0 is nice. This week, though, we look at this as a region game. We’re 0-0 in the region and we don’t want to lose.”
— By Carlton D. White
Game: Lithia Springs at Allatoona, 7:30 p.m.
Last Year: Allatoona 35, Lithia Springs 7
All-time series: Allatoona leads 1-0
Prediction: Allatoona 42, Lithia Springs 10
Allatoona is dominating the start of its Region 5AAAAAA schedule.
After shutting out their first two opponents, the Buccaneers gave up points for the first time last week, but they still beat Rome by more than 30 points.
Not only has the defense clamped down, but the offense is still racking up the rushing yards. As a team, Allatoona has run for nearly 900 yards over its first three games
Josh Bettistea has already run for 552 yards and eight touchdowns, but the Bucs’ running attack is more than just Bettistea.
Russell Halimon and Dallas Bryant have combined for another 312 yards on 39 carries and seven touchdowns.
“I’ve got good running backs, and we’re trying different ways to give everyone the ball,” Allatoona coach Gary Varner said. “We’re really looking to get them more involved. Russell is a 10th grader and we knew what we had with him, but Dallas is a guy who has come out of nowhere. It’s been a pleaant surprise.”
Lithia Springs is still looking for its first winning season since 1999. The Lions off to an 0-2 start after winning just one game last year. They lost to New Manchester and North Paulding by an average of 34.5 points.
— By Adam Carrington
Game: Northview (1-1) at Pope (0-3), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Pope 45, Northview 27
All-time series: Pope leads 5-1
Prediction: Northview 28, Pope 21
Pope loaded up on Class AAAAAA programs to begin the season and the results haven’t gone as coach Matt Kemper and the Greyhounds’ faithful would have hoped.
On Friday, Pope steps into more familiar territory as it hosts Region 7AAAAA foe Northview. The Titans are coming off their first win of the season following a 16-12 victory against Lambert last week.
“You never know when you’re dealing with 16- and 17- year-olds,” Kemper said on if his team is ready to face region competition this week.
“I know the kids are excited to play a region game, you just don’t know what you’re going to get when everybody’s on the field. The game is at Pope, so we know the crowd will be there and they’ll be into it. We still have to show up and play well.”
The Greyhounds scored only seven points last week at Etowah and opened the season with 13 against Marietta. Things don’t get any easier against the Titans, who have been in two close games.
Pope’s struggles offensively have been due in large part to the lack of a running game. In 78 offensive plays so far this season, 74 have come with an empty backfield.
“Taylor Wolf’s been taking snaps at quarterback and he’s doing good things back there,” Kemper said. “We don’t really have a running back, so we have to work a little differently offensively and fit our scheme to our personnel. We just don’t have a kid we can put back there.”
— By Carlton D. White
Game: Forsyth Central (0-3) at Sprayberry (0-3)
Last year: Sprayberry 31, Forsyth Central 28
All-time series: Sprayberry leads 1-0
Prediction: Sprayberry 34, Forsyth Central 20
Sprayberry has had a rough start to the season playing teams in a higher classification, and those results have led to a 0-3 mark entering Friday’s homecoming contest against visiting Forsyth Central.
The Bulldogs haven’t seen a lot of success so far this season either, meaning one of these two teams will get their first victory.
“Anytime kids get out there, you can put the records aside,” Sprayberry coach Billy Shackelford said. “They want to win. To us, this game is important because it’s the next game. We want to build momentum heading into region play.”
The Yellow Jackets should be ready after their difficult stretch of Class AAAAAA opponents. Playing up in competition, Shackelford believed, will help make his team better. Now with the subregion slate beginning, the contests become more and more important.
“I see the willingness to come out and play and practice and work hard every day,” Shackelford said. “To me, that’s a testament to our guys that they want to get better and they want to continue to work. Our kids don’t have quit in them.
“I’ve seen some good things. I’ve seen our guys have more focus. Our intensity this week in practice has been better and that’s been player-driven. I’ve even seen our focus in the weight room get better. I’m very confident where we are. I’m not happy where we are record-wise, but I’m confident we’re heading in the right direction and we’re getting better.”
— By Carlton D. White
Game: Cambrige at Osborne, 7:30 p.m.
Last meeting: Osborne 20, Cambridge 7 (Nov. 7, 2012)
All-time series: Osborne leads 2-0
Prediction: Osborne 30, Cambridge 17
This offseason, Osborne coach Xarvia Smith overhauled the Cardinals’ offense and implemented a spread formation that was vastly different than the Wing-T used in previous years.
The early result has been an increase in production for the Cardinals, including 25 points in the season-opening win over Chapel Hill, which was the most an Osborne offense has scored in a contest since October 2011.
However, the Cardinals head into their battle against Cambridge tonight on a two-game losing streak, including a 37-19 loss to Campbell last week.
“Our kids have to learn how to win and overcome a losing mentality,” said Smith, whose team beat Cambridge twice a year ago. “This may be the best Osborne team we’ve had in over 10 years. We have the talent to win.”
The Cardinals will ride the dual-threat capabilities of sophomore quarterback Craig Robinson, who had 88 yards rushing and a touchdown against Campbell.
“Craig has a big arm and is a solid leader,” Smith said. “He’s averaged about 200 yards of total offense for us per game which is great.”
The spread attack has allowed the Cardinals to use its deep roster of skill players, who are mostly sophomores and juniors, to flourish in open space.
“This offense allows us to use our good athletes and I’m seeing improvements in every game,” Smith said. “We’re going to look at colleges like Oregon and Texas A&M to implement their scheme into our offense.”
— By Marcel Pourtout
MDJ Sports Writer