Game: Kell (6-0, 1-0) at Osborne (2-4, 0-1), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Kell 34, Osborne 7
All-time series: Kell leads 3-0
Prediction: Kell 35, Osborne 14
Kell will take its undefeated record and No. 4 Class AAAAA state ranking into Cardinal Field to play a Region 7AAAAA (B) game against an Osborne team it hasn’t lost to in three tries.
Only one game in the series has been close — the Longhorns’ 13-8 home victory in 2011. Kell has dominated the other two meetings, winning by a combined score of 86-7.
But that means nothing to Kell coach Derek Cook.
“Osborne’s always had tremendous team speed, and that can give us some problems,” he said. “They’re a well-prepared and well-coached team, so to play them well we will have to bring our best.”
Kell is on a roll heading into the contest. The Longhorns are averaging 33.2 points per game while holding opponents to 13.0 per outing.
Their last win, a 30-14 triumph at home over Riverwood, didn’t sit well with Cook. Kell committed too many penalties — nine for 71 yards — too many turnovers (3) and missed several tackles. The Longhorns led 23-14 with less than a minute left in the third quarter and put the game away in the fourth.
“I feel like we’re underachieving,” Cook said. “We’re winning games, but they haven’t been satisfying wins. I’m happy with the outcomes of games, but we’re making too many mistakes and I’m not pleased with how we’re winning.
“Our focus this week has been on limiting those mistakes. We have to play better on our end before we start worrying about the other team. We’re our own worst enemy, and that has to change.”
Osborne’s averaging 14.8 points per game, but giving up 30.3 points to opponents. The Cardinals trailed Pope 21-14 at halftime last week before the Greyhounds took command in the second half.
Quarterback Craig Robinson was a bright spot in the loss, totaling 163 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while also throwing for 139 yards. Through the first five games of the season, Robinson had 472 passing yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 480 yards.
The Cardinals will need a spark from him again Friday to combat the Longhorns.
“We have our work cut out for us this week,” Osborne coach Xarvia Smith said. “We need some touchdowns and to get into the end zone and Craig will play a huge part in that process. He had over 300 yards of offense last week, and we’ll probably need that from him again.”
— By Carlton D. White
Game: Sprayberry (1-4, 0-0) at Riverwood (3-2, 0-1), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Sprayberry 24, Riverwood 21
All-time series: Sprayberry leads 3-2
Prediction: Sprayberry 27, Riverwood 24
The bad news for Sprayberry is that it’s 1-4.
The good news for the Yellow Jackets is that none of those games count in the subregion standings.
That will change for Sprayberry on Friday as it goes on the road to play Riverwood in its 7AAAAA (B) opener at Hoskyn Stadium.
It will be a new beginning for a Sprayberry team that began the season with losses to Class AAAAAA teams Wheeler, Kennesaw Mountain and Lassiter, and is coming off of a 35-7 defeat at the hands of Sequoyah in a region crossover game two weeks ago.
“The first games are tune-up games to get to this point,” Sprayberry coach Billy Shackelford said. “Of course, we would have liked to be more successful in four of our first five.
“It’s a fresh start. Everyone starts 0-0 in the region, and this is when games count most. This is when there is the most riding on each game. I told our kids that we have to play like our backs are against the wall, because it is. Every one of these next four games are going to dictate what happens in Week 10, whether we will be playing for something meaningful or not.”
The Yellow Jackets are coming off of a bye week, giving them some extra time to prepare for the challenges of their subregion schedule.
“You use the bye week to fix what’s broke or to work on things you are not doing well in,” Shackelford said. “We have a handful of players who are banged-up and we needed that week to heal and get our legs back under us. We worked on fundamentals. Football is a game of simplicity — it’s about blocking and tackling. We have to work on that, get back to some of the basics, work on Sprayberry as opposed to a weekly opponent.”
— By Greg Oshust
MDJ Sports Writer
Game: Mount Paran Christian (4-1, 1-0) at Whitefield Academy (2-3, 0-1), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Whitefield Academy 14, Mount Paran Christian 3
All-time series: Whitefield Academy leads 1-0
Prediction: Mount Paran Christian 24, Whitefield Academy 20
Two Cobb county private schools will look to build on a budding rivalry when Whitefield Academy hosts Mount Paran Christian on Friday.
It will only be the second meeting between the two teams with, Whitefield gaining the 14-3 victory last season.
“Its been good to play schools in our county and fun for the community to see these rivalry games develop,” Mount Paran coach Mitch Jordan said. “The kids in this area have played against each other for years.”
The Eagles have had a strong start to the season and are coming off of a dominating 45-3 home victory over King’s Ridge last week.
Emoni Williams had four touchdowns in the victory, including an interception return for a score. He had 197 yards of total offense in the win.
“Whitefield runs the option and has talented players on both sides of the ball,” Jordan said. “We’ll have to play our responsibilities on defense and not make mistakes with turning the ball over on offense.”
Whitefield will seek its first region 6A (B) win of the season after falling to Fellowship Christian, 38-33, last week.
Quarterback Everett Pollard completed 18 of 39 passes for 243 yards and had two touchdowns in the loss.
Running back Sky Dupree had 127 yards rushing, while Alex Manning and Matt Olsen each had a touchdown reception.
— By Marcel Pourtout
MDJ Sports Writer
Game: Fellowship Christian (4-1, 1-0) at Walker (3-2, 0-1), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Walker 54, Fellowship Christian 7
All-time series: Walker leads 1-0
Prediction: Fellowship Christian 27, Walker 14
After being shut out 47-0 by Mount Pisgah Christian last week, Walker has to refocus and prepare for its next game against Fellowship Christian.
Coach John East said more than just the returning players took last week’s loss as a shock.
“We all took it hard, the players and coaches,” East said. “I will always take responsibility for a loss. It is my job to have the team and coaches ready for whatever we might face and we were not ready.”
East said the outcome can’t be changed and the only thing to do is to put it behind them, go back to practice and work on every aspect of the game.
The Wolverines will host the Paladins on Friday. Walker defeated them last season 54-7, but East expects a different game this season, especially after Fellowship knocked off Whitefield Academy last week.
“(I expect) a team that is coming in with momentum,” he said. “We need to be prepared to play good football.”
— By Ericka Birdsong
MDJ Sports Writer
Game: North Cobb Christian (0-5) at Providence Christian (0-0), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: North Cobb Christian 49, Providence Christian 21
All-time series: North Cobb Christian leads 1-0
Prediction: North Cobb Christian 30, Providence Christian 21
There’s still plenty of positives to build on, despite starting the season with an 0-5 overall record. The Eagles look to get their first win under first-year coach Scott Ryle when they play at Providence Christian on Friday.
He’s working to build a young program that’s won six games in the five-plus years it’s had a program.
“We can see the vision of what we’re trying to achieve,” Ryle said. “They know we’re doing the right thing. We were winning most of the game (against Baconton Charter last Friday). We were just unable to finish. That’s something we have to do, but we continue to see improvement and get better every week.”
One of the positives is the performance of sophomore running back David Brittingham. He matched his rushing total in the first four games going into the Eagles’ 27-19 loss to Baconton, finishing with 34 carries for 156 yards before leaving the game early because of cramps.
“We never had him carry the ball that many times in one game,” Ryle said.
Now at 312 yards on the season, Brittingham could raise that number significantly Friday when the Eagles head to Providence Christian. He’s also looking for his first touchdown this season.
Ryle describes Brittngham as a bruising back who can rapidly pick up speed once he finds open space. He’s known for making tacklers miss and it often takes more than one player to bring him down.
“He’s a fighter and that’s the type of kid you want leading your team,” Ryle said. “He’s always the first in the weight room and is the last to leave. He’s not that tall, but he’s a strong kid, especially for his age.”
— By Adam Carrington