Last year: Marietta 27, Pope 7
All-time series: Marietta leads 8-1
Prediction: Marietta 24, Pope 14
Marietta had a big hole to fill coming into the 2013 season at quarterback with the loss of LSU signee Anthony Jennings.
Consider that hole now filled.
Brenton Martin stepped into the vacancy left by Jennings and put his own stamp on the position as he completed 14-of-19 passes for 249 yards and a school-record five touchdowns in his debut as a varsity starter to lead the Blue Devils to a 52-14 season-opening victory over Newnan last Friday.
Now, Martin will try to duplicate that performance in front of the home crowd as Marietta hosts Pope in a battle of Cobb County rivals at Northcutt Stadium.
“I don’t think anybody could have predicted that kind of exhibition, by Brent or anybody else on the team for that matter,” Marietta coach Scott Burton said. “It was obviously a prestigious, high-quality opponent (that we played). The fact that (Newnan hasn’t) been able to scrimmage to due to some weather cancellations put them at a disadvantage and I know they’re going to be a very good football team down the road. I think we, collectively and individually, were able to capitalize on unfortunate timing from their standpoint.”
Burton said he is confident that his new quarterback can continue to build on last week’s success.
“You’ve got to continue to work and make progress,” he said. “Certainly, he’s a talented player and he just has to trust the process beforehand and I know he will do that. He’s a smart kid and he likes to work and so as long as he continues to keep punching the clock and do the things he’s been doing, I think he’ll make progress.”
— By Greg Oshust
MDJ Sports Writer
Game: Woodstock (1-0) at Harrison (0-0), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Harrison 21, Woodstock 16
All-time series: Harrison leads 4-3
Prediction: Woodstock 27, Harrison 14
Woodstock coach Brent Budde started selling a new message last spring, and from the looks of the Wolverines during their season-opening win, the players bought it.
Now, as the team prepares to face Harrison tonight in Kennesaw, Budde will see just how far the message sunk in for his players.
A year ago, the Wolverines fell
21-16 on their own field. Tonight, they hope to return the favor.
Amid two years of coaching disarray, two constants at Harrison have been quarterback Lorenzo Nunez and receiver Drevon Jones. A veteran offensive line protects Nunez, while linebacker Jonathan Fisher and defensive lineman Joey Connors, a Central Florida commitment, head up the 3-4 defense.
“They have an athletic quarterback who is a junior,” Budde said. “They have some athletic receivers out there who can hurt you in a lot of ways. I think that is the challenge for us.”
Harrison is led by first-year coach Matt Dickmann, its fourth coach in less than two years. Last year, coach Marty Galbraith — hired after David Hines’ resignation following the 2011 season — resigned amid allegations of improper conduct, and former longtime Harrison coach Bruce Cobleigh was installed as the interim coach for the final three games.
As for Woodstock, quarterback Justin Agner, who suffered a knee injury in the Wolverines’ victory over Johns Creek a week ago, should be back on the field tonight. Budde said Agner was able to work out with the team this week.
In the event that Agner is unable to play, or is sidelined again, Alex Motsinger, who scored two touchdowns last week, would take over the role once again.
— By Emily Horos
Game: Pebblebrook (0-0) at Southwest DeKalb (0-0), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Southwest DeKalb 23, Pebblebrook 0
All-time series: Southwest DeKalb leads 1-0
Prediction: Southwest DeKalb 28, Pebblebrook 7
After finishing a winless 2012 campaign, the entire Pebblebrook program knows the importance of getting off to a good start in its season opener at Southwest DeKalb tonight.
“How we fare against Southwest DeKalb will play a major part on how the rest of our season will finish for us,” Pebblebrook coach Tommy Macon said. “We’ve tried to regroup this summer by working hard in the weight room and had full participation in our offseason workouts.”
Pebblebrook will rely on duel-threat quarterback Dezmon Huntley, who threw for 1,308 yards and four touchdowns and also ran for 549 yards and three scores in 2012. The Falcons also welcome back the services of senior wide receiver Justin Simms, who had 553 yards receiving last season along with two touchdowns.
“We’ve worked on our passing game all summer and we looked good in our scrimmage against Osborne two weeks ago,” Macon said.
Pebblebrook faces a tough task against the Panthers, who’ve averaged more than eight wins per season in the last five years and have made the state playoff each year since 2008.
While the game tonight is a non-region contest, Pebblebrook anticipates that it will provide training for future contests later in the season against Cobb County’s finest programs.
“We have some new kids in our program and playing Southwest DeKalb will give us an opportunity to prepare for the tough teams in our region, which is one of the best in the entire state,” Macon said.
— By Marcel Pourtout
MDJ Sports Writer