Game: Lassiter (2-2, 1-0) at Woodstock (1-3, 0-1), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Lassiter 30, Woodstock 7
All-time series: Lassiter leads 8-3
Prediction: Lassiter 31, Woodstock 28
There’s a saying in high school football that, on any given Friday, any team can win.
Lassiter and Woodstock saw just how true that statement was a week ago as the Trojans were nearly upset by Cherokee and the Wolverines nearly upended Walton.
Neither squad was looking backward, however, as they prepared to face each other tonight at the Wolverine Den.
“I think that it’s a totally different Friday and a totally different game,” Woodstock coach Brent Budde said. “The score is going to start off 0-0, and you just have to go out there and play. I don’t think either team is thinking about last week. I know we’re not.”
Budde said the Wolverines have traditionally given the Trojans’ offense a hard time.
Part of his plan tonight is to make Lassiter one dimensional. Through the first four games of the season, the Trojans have had two players eclipse the 100-yard rushing mark. Meanwhile, senior quarterback Will Anderson has passed for more than 600 yards.
Budde wants his team to force Lassiter into throwing the football.
“You have to try to make them one-handed,” Budde said. “We want to shut down their running game. Pin their ears back and make them throw it. We have to get pressure on the quarterback. Just about every week, at any level, the game will be won upfront.”
Meanwhile, Budde feels the spread offense the Wolverines are running gives them more of an opportunity to play balanced football.
The numbers so far back up his belief.
Woodstock has attempted 128 passes for 864 yards and rushed the ball 129 times for 632 yards. They have six touchdown passes, while toting the ball on the ground for another nine scores.
“You can’t be one-dimensional,” Budde said. “Obviously, last year, our total numbers for the year were 1,800 yards rushing and 800 or 900 yards passing. We were one-handed. We had to run the ball. People think that just because you go to a spread offense, you are throwing the ball every down, but that isn’t the case. Sometimes, it just opens up the run game more. We are trying to be balanced and not be one-handed.”
— By Emily Horos
Game: Walton (2-2, 1-0) at Cherokee (2-2, 0-1), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Walton 21, Cherokee 7
All-time series: Walton leads 20-6
Prediction: Walton 28, Cherokee 27
Walton and Cherokee were both involved in shootouts last week, with one emerging as the winner and the other the loser.
Walton won a 44-40 battle over Woodstock, despite having issues with its defensive performance.
Cherokee came out on the short end of a 42-41 decision with Lassiter, in a game that came down to a missed extra-point attempt by the Warriors.
Walton coach Rocky Hidalgo talked about making corrections on defense this week, while Cherokee’s Josh Shaw was most concerned with the Warriors’ special teams heading into the teams’ Region 5AAAAAA game tonight at Tommy Baker Field.
Walton is looking to revert back to the defense it showed against North Cobb two weeks ago, when is prevailed 28-13 over the returning Class AAAAAA semifinalist.
“We’re trying to make some strides defensively and, hopefully, we can give another effort like we did against North Cobb,” Hidalgo said. “We made a lot of mental errors (against Woodstock) and allowed them to score points. We have to do a better job at executing our game plan. We played good defense against Peachtree Ridge and North Cobb. We had terrible games against Hillgrove and Woodstock.”
The Raiders will need a strong defensive performance against a Cherokee team that accumulated 612 yards against Lassiter. Quarterback Spencer Ashley threw for 455 yards and five touchdowns, with three of the touchdowns coming in the second half as the Warriors nearly rallied back from 35-7 down.
“They play aggressive in the secondary and are physical up front,” Shaw said. “We’re going to have our work cut out for us.”
— By Adam Carrington
Game: Wheeler (2-2, 0-1) at Milton (4-0, 1-0), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Milton 34, Wheeler 13
All-time series: Milton leads 10-7
Prediction: Wheeler 24, Milton 20
Wheeler is looking to bounce back from a two-game losing streak, both coming at home to Langston Hughes and Etowah, after opening the season with wins over Sprayberry and Pope.
In both losses, the Wildcats (2-2) fell behind by at least three touchdowns early. They nearly came back against Langston Hughes but Etowah kept them at bay last week in the Region 5AAAAAA opener.
One issue is Wheeler’s run defense. The Wildcats gave up 252 rushing yards last week With Brandon Engle rushing for 152 of them and a touchdown. Quarterback John Oliver added 82 more yards and a score.
It won’t be any easier stopping the run against Milton. The Eagles have Tennessee-bound Treyvon Paulk leading the backfield. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season, with 17 touchdowns.
Wheeler coach Mike Collins said the Wildcats have to be more physical up front.
“I don’t know if there’s an answer (for Paulk),” Collins said. “We’re going to have to get around him and hopefully corrall him and get him down.”
The Wildcats must slow down Paulk early if they want to start quickly against Milton and will need the services of linebackers Jevan Sampler and Quincye Price to help make stops.
Playing mistake-free football on offense is another way that the Wildcats can keep Paulk and Milton’s offense off the field. Early turnovers have proved costly for Wheeler against Etowah. They also want to get Devontae Jackson going again after being held to 42 yards on 13 carries against Etowah.
“We’ve just have to execute better,” Collins said. “The plays are there but we have to do better with our players. We got to make sure the confidence is still there.”
— By Adam Carrington