Last year: South Cobb 27, North Cobb 26 (OT)
All-time series: North Cobb leads 18-15
Prediction: North Cobb 45, South Cobb 14
North Cobb was expected to compete for one of the region’s four playoff spots this season, having reached the Class AAAAAAA state semifinals a year ago, while South Cobb was expected to be in a rebuilding mode under a new coach and a new signal-caller.
However, the Eagles find themselves in the thick of the playoff chase with a goal of overcoming one of the region playoff favorites — McEachern, Hillgrove, Marietta and North Cobb.
“The thing you try to do is to make the kids understand, and the coaches understand, that you have to be in a good situation to try and make the playoffs,” South Cobb coach Michael Youngblood said. “The thing we’ve been harping on our kids this week is they have a chance to compete for first place. Your fate is in your hands.
“All we need for you to do is to go out and execute our game plan and do the things you’re coached to do and you’ll give us a chance to compete for first in the region.”
South Cobb’s effort has led to consecutive wins after two straight losses, which shows the Eagles are ready to turn things around.
“The kids have been relentless in everything they’ve been doing,” Youngblood said. “They’re going to fight and they’re going to claw for 48 minutes. That’s what football is all about. We’ve executed a whole lot better, and I think the execution part, and along with the ball bouncing our way a few times has really paid dividends on us winning ball games.”
— By Carlton D. White
Game: McEachern (5-0, 3-0) at Campbell (2-3, 0-3), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: McEachern 49, Campbell 3
All-time series: McEachern leads 21-2
Prediction: McEachern 38, Campbell 20
McEachern senior quarterback Ty Clemons has been punishing opponents with his versatility this season and Campbell could very well be next in line.
“He’s our catalyst,” McEachern coach Kyle Hockman said. “Everything goes through him. He’s a really good kid and a real poised individual. He’s a physical athlete who can run and run through tackles.”
Tonight, Clemons, who earned the Atlanta Touchdown Club Back of the Week Award this week, and the 5-0 Indians will travel to Richard McDaniel Stadium to face the slumping Spartans.
Clemons, who has received scholarship offers from Kentucky, Louisville and Syracuse, among others, threw touchdowns of 32 and 26 yards, and sprinted 75 yards for another score in last week’s 41-7 win over Kennesaw Mountain.
“In the past game, he really improved and continued to get better and better as he becomes the man more and more,” Hockman said. “He knows how to protect himself in the run game. Then, he comes back the next play and sits in the pocket and makes good reads and good decisions.”
Last week, Campbell lost to Hillgrove, 63-28.
“Clemons is unbelievable,” Campbell coach Harris Rainbow said. “They’ve got it all. We’re excited to go out there and play a team with a bunch of kids who are going to play on Saturday (in college).”
— By Maurice Dixon
MDJ Sports Writer
Game: Hillgrove (4-0, 2-0) at Pebblebrook (2-3, 0-3), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Hillgrove 37, Pebblebrook 0
All-time series: Hillgrove leads 3-0
Prediction: Hillgrove 35, Pebblebrook 7
Hillgrove is on an offensive tear this season and has shown no signs of slowing down.
The undefeated Hawks have averaged 39.2 points a game and, with two of their wins coming against Walton and Marietta.
Quarterback Elijah Ironside is already closing in on 1,000 passing yards with 904, and has 15 touchdown passes. It helps to have weapons around him.
For Hillgrove, it seems that a different player steps up each week on the offensive side of the ball. None of the other players have glaring offensive stats.
“We try to spread the wealth around,” Hillgrove coach Phil Ironside said. “They don’t mind if someone else gets the credit. We got a lot of kids who can play.”
Pebblebrook, which didn’t win a game last season, is looking to snap a three-game losing streak after beginning the season 2-0.
The region schedule hasn’t been kind to the Falcons, who have already played other 4AAAAAA powers McEachern and Marietta.
— By Adam Carrington
Game: Harrison (3-2, 1-2) at Kennesaw Mountain (1-4, 0-3), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Harrison 17, Kennesaw Mountain 14
All-time series: Harrison leads 9-2
Prediction: Harrison 21, Kennesaw Mountain 14
One of Cobb County’s biggest rivalries will be renewed when Kennesaw Mountain hosts Harrison in the latest edition of the “Battle of the Bell” at Cobb Energy/Mustang Stadium.
It will be the 12th time the Due West rivals — separated by only 5 miles — will face each other, with Harrison holding a
9-2 advantage in the series.
Kennesaw Mountain coach Andy Scott is still learning about the rivalry in his second season at the helm, but he realizes its importance to his team.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity for our kids to compete against kids who they grew up with, they go to church with, they play rec ball with,” Scott said. “So, it’s pretty important for bragging rights.”
Even newer to the rivalry is first-year Harrison coach Matt Dickmann.
“It’s like any rivalry that I’ve been involved with,” Dickmann said. “When you’re in close proximity with each other, that’s what you’re always going to have, those bragging rights. So, I know it’s important to the kids.”
The Hoyas have won the last three meetings between the two teams, including a 17-14 win last year.
— By Greg Oshust
MDJ Sports Writer