Last year: Allatoona 36, Paulding County 0
All-time series: Allatoona leads 1-0
Prediction: Allatoona 28, Paulding County 7
Allatoona started the season with a lopsided 50-0 victory over Woodland-Bartow, and it seemed the Buccaneers were fluent on both sides of the ball.
But coach Gary Varner said he doesn’t believe his team has truly been tested. That could come at home Friday against Paulding County.
The Patriots finished with a 1-9 mark last year and lost by five touchdowns to Allatoona. But they are showing quickly that they may not be that same 1-9 team they were in 2012. Last Friday, Paulding County defeated Hiram 23-6, a year after the Hornets beat them 33-0.
Allatoona is about to find out how its young team, with only four returning starters, will respond.
“They’re going to give us a good test,” Varner said of Paulding County. “It will be an indicator of where we are. They have a big running back and offensive line. Defensively, they look really fast. They’re much improved. This will give us an idea of what level we are.”
If Allatoona can roll up another 300-plus rushing yards against Paulding County, with Josh Bettistea putting forth another 147-yard, two touchdown effort, the Buccaneers should be in good shape with the ground game.
But Varner said the game could be determined with how well Allatoona slows down the Patriots’ option.
“Anytime someone runs the option, you got to play assignment football or else mistakes will magnify,” Varner said.
— By Adam Carrington
Game: Wheeler at Pope, 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Wheeler 33, Pope 0
All-time series: Wheeler leads 13-8
Prediction: Wheeler 28, Pope 17
Wheeler has had almost two weeks to soak in its season-opening 44-14 victory over Sprayberry, but could that be too much time?
Meanwhile, Pope is ready to bounce back from a 63-13 opening week loss to Marietta.
The Wildcats are anxious to get reps, especially the first string, which didn’t play much in the second half against Sprayberry after scoring 34 points in the first. Running back Devontae Jackson finished with 216 yards, with three of his four carries going for touchdowns — two from at least 90 yards.
“We’re just trying to get better on a daily basis,” Wheeler coach Mike Collins said. “We did show big-play capabilities but we have to make sure, conditioning wise, that we can play football for four quarters.”
The Wildcats aren’t overlooking Pope and its option offense.
Despite the lopsided loss, the Greyhounds did outgain the Blue Devils by more than 50 yards. They were offensively balanced against Marietta, throwing for 152 yards and rushing for 122. Taylor Wolf threw for 127 yards and a touchdown.
What hurt the Greyhounds were turnovers. Three interceptions were returned for touchdowns.
“They are versatile on offense with the option game,” Collins said. “We’re going to have to tackle and line up right. Pope is a big team and (coach Matt) Kemper is one of those offensive geniuses. He will put in some different things against us. I’m excited to see how our guys will line up.”
— By Adam Carrington
Game: Campbell at Osborne, 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Campbell 27, Osborne 6
All-Time Series: Campbell leads 16-3
Prediction: Campbell 17, Osborne 10
Campbell will try for a second straight 2-0 start, while Osborne attempts to bounce back from a disappointing loss, as the two Windy Hill rivals get together at Cardinal Field.
Osborne (1-1) saw its own attempts at a 2-0 start thwarted by a surprising 28-7 loss to McNair last week — a defeat that was a big disappointment for Cardinals coach Xarvia Smith.
“I learned that we have a long way to go,” Smith said. “It’s extremely hard to build winners off of a team that’s been losing for so long. I really don’t think we should have lost that game. We didn’t make any plays. I’m very upset by that game.”
Meanwhile, Campbell (1-0) is looking to avoid complacency in its quest for a 2-0 start after its season-opening 36-6 victory over Morrow two weeks ago.
Campbell coach Harris Rainbow said he expects the Osborne team that beat Chapel Hill 25-14 in its season opener a couple of weeks ago to show up Friday instead of the squad that lost to McNair last week.
“The best way for [our players] not to come out flat is to show them the Osborne film [of the Chapel Hill game],” Rainbow said. “You can show them five or six clips and you realize that Osborne is a good football team. Showing them that first drive, running roughshod over the other team, is enough to open your eyes. We can’t afford to come out flat or we’re going to get beat.”
— By Greg Oshust
MDJ Sports Writer
Game: Kell at Woodstock, 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Kell 27, Woodstock 10
All-time series:,/b> Kell leads 5-2
Prediction: Kell 27, Woodstock 14
Kell is well-rested after an ealry bye week. Woodstock is already preparing for its third game of the season.
The Wolverines (1-1) will certainly have their hands full with Kell, the fifth-ranked team of Class AAAAA. The Longhorns (1-0) beat Chattahoochee 26-16 two weeks ago in the season-opening Corky Kell Classic at the Georgia Dome.
Kell’s secondary seems to already be in midseason form after intercepting three Chattahoochee passes, and it could cause problems for the Wolverines rotating quarterback situation. Justin Agner and Alex Motsinger were also sacked six times against Harrison last week, something coach Brent Budde said kept them from being successful.
“We have to do the little things,” he said. “We have to finish blocks, finish runs, finish tackles. They obviously have some talented players at Kell. We need to corral them and keep them in front of us on offense and not give up any big plays.”
Julian Burris provided plenty of big plays in Kell’s opener. He had three catches for 89 yards — including an 80-yard touchdown. The versatile athlete also returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown, threw a 61-yard pass to Errol Breaux late in the game to seal the victory and added an interception on defense.
Burris is also backed in the secondary by Taylor Henkle, a Kennesaw State commitment, while quarterback Matthew McGuigan has orchestrated the Longhorns’ offense.
— By Emily Horos