At 5-3 overall, and 4-1 in Region 6A (B), Whitefield would be in prime position to advance to the postseason, but with the introduction of the Georgia High School Association’s power ranking for Class A, which will determine playoff seeding, there are a lot of question marks.
Even with the altered format, there is one thing the Wolfpack can do to control its destiny and that is to win each week. Right now, that means winning tonight against King’s Ridge Christian.
“It was a very tough loss to Walker and a very big game,” Whitefield coach Jimmy Fields said. “But with the region crossover game next week, followed by what we hope will be the playoffs, every region game is very crucial. We kind of licked our wounds from that loss in a hurry and we’ve got to move forward.”
Aside from getting back on a winning track, there might not be too much that the Wolfpack need to do to move forward. Whitefield played well against Walker and put itself in a position to win, but it ran out of time.
“The thing we are looking to do is not have a drop off,” Fields said. “When you come off an emotional game like last week, you don’t play the same. You are either going to improve or drop off and we certainly don’t want to drop off. We want to step our game up.”
The Tigers are well-coached. In just its third full season of football, King’s Ridge has become relevant in the region and would finish the sub-region with a .500 record with a victory tonight.
“They have done an outstanding job of building a quality football program,” Fields said. “They are a very physical football team along the line of scrimmage and have several key skill players that are very talented that (coach Jeff Pickren) does a good job utilizing and putting those kids in good positions.”
Among the skill players are quarterback Brad Butler and his top target Chandler Duggan. Running back Harold Antor leads the Tigers in rushing.
It will be key for Whitefield to keep those skill players off the field as much as possible. That means putting the Tigers offense in a hole early with negative plays on first down and making them convert on third-and-long if they are going to maintain possession of the ball.
“The better it is for them and the worse it is for us when those skill players are on the field,” Fields said.
While King’s Ridge will certainly present a challenge, the Whitefield players know what it is like to be in the playoffs and they also know the only way to get there is to keep on winning.
“There is a lot of confusion right now with the GHSA power rankings,” Fields said. “I think on one hand that is kind of sad that not more planning when into it, but on the other hand, it’s exciting. It’s playoff football time of the year. The most important thing, whether it is power ranking or whatever is that we need to play hard the next four quarters and win the football game.”