Last year: Lassiter 42, Kell 13
All-time Series: Lassiter leads 4-3
Prediction: Kell 24, Lassiter 20
Kell hasn’t forgotten about the thrashing it took at Lassiter this time last year, and the returning players for the Longhorns are playing well enough to get even against a Trojan team that’s unsettled at quarterback.
Will Anderson started the opener, but was injured against McEachern. Russell Aarons has led the huddle since.
Aarons threw for 252 yards and two touchdowns and ran for an extra 60 yards in Lassiter’s 41-23 win over Sprayberry. Quincey Perdue was his primary target, catching six passes for 101 yards.
Returning receiver Blake Wilson is getting work but is still not 100 percent from injury. If Anderson starts at quarterback, Aarons will likely line up at receiver.
Lassiter coach Jep Irwin hasn’t announced who will start against Kell, saying that “both will be ready to play.”
While Lassiter has been a throwing team, it is starting to run more effectively. Mason Waters had 81 yards on 16 carries, and Grant Daniels had 86 yards on five touches.
“They’re handing the ball off more than they have the past couple of years,” Kell coach Derek Cook said. “When you have to spread the field to defend (the pass), they gash you with the run. At this point, I don’t think that’s a secret. They’re comfortable running the ball and throwing the ball.”
The Longhorns had three interceptions in their 41-21 win over Woodstock last week. The turnovers often led to short fields for the offense.
Kell appears to be more stable at offense with Matthew McGuigan back at quarterback. He threw for 113 yards and had two touchdown passes last week to Julian Burris.
“They are a physical team with athletic size up front – a typical Derek Cook-coached team,” Irwin said. “It’s going to be very important not to give up the big plays in the passing game.”
— By Adam Carrington
Game: Allatoona (2-0) at Rome (1-1), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Allatoona 39, Rome 17
All-time series: Allatoona leads 1-0
Prediction: Allatoona 35, Rome 21
Allatoona’s offense is averaging 44.5 points per game. Its defense has yet to give up a point.
The Buccaneers know they’re good, but they’re not buying into their own hype.
“These kids are hungry,” coach Gary Varner said. “They don’t look at themselves as world beaters. They don’t even look at themselves as starters. They compete every week for playing time because they know that’s what they have to do.
“They have confidence in their ability and what they’ve done, but they understand they have to show up and they have to play and they have to prove themselves.”
That’s the mindset Allatoona will be taking in its game Friday at Rome. The Buccaneers’ first two games — Woodland-Cartersville and Paulding County — were against teams that have totaled 36 points in six games and have a combined record of 1-5 on the season.
The Wolves won’t be so easy to defeat. Rome has made the playoffs the last three seasons, and each year, they’ve improved their win total by one game. Friday’s contest will mark Allatoona’s first game at Rome as well as its first road contest of the season.
Rome’s offense is strong. The Wolves are averaging 35 points per game, while the defense is holding opponents to 27.5 per contest.
“(Rome scores), That hasn’t been a problem for them,” Varner said. “We’ll see how we react going there. Their offense is still a Wing-T like it was last year. They have some speed guys with ability that can carry the ball.”
— By Carlton D. White
Game: Pope (0-2) at Etowah (2-0), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Pope 20, Etowah 17 (OT)
All-time series: Pope leads 8-6
Prediction: Etowah 34, Pope 14
Pope is off to a slow start at 0-2. But after doing the same thing last year, the Greyhounds beat Etowah and it sent them on a run to the Class AAAAA playoffs.
That loss is something Etowah coach Dave Svehla said was hard to forget.
“Quite honestly, we got outplayed. We got outcoached,” Svehla said. “There were quite a few things we didn’t execute properly. That evening, I think, is on the mind of all of us.”
Etowah enters this season’s meeting at 2-0, with wins over Lambert and Centennial, and it has averaged a margin of victory of more than 20 points. It is the polar opposite of Pope, which has lost its two games by a combined 89 points.
Those numbers might make some coaches in Svehla’s position feel pretty good, but he knows that Pope is a talented team that will attempt to spread out the Eagles’ defense.
“They have the ability to get the kids the ball in space,” he said. “At the high school level, if you have an athlete out in space, you can really create some problems.”
John Oliver will continue to serve as Etowah’s quarterback, while Brandon Engle will be the primary force on the ground. The pair combined for over 350 rushing yards and four touchdowns last week.
— By Emily Horos