Prior to their bye, the Longhorns (6-1, 2-0) defeated Osborne on Oct. 12 for their fourth consecutive win.
“We’ve been doing some things well,” Kell coach Derek Cook said. “You are never satisfied because we are still making some mistakes. I still don’t believe we’ve played a complete game yet. We’ve played some great halves of football.”
In order for the Longhorns to keep their winning streak alive, not only will they have to take down one of their biggest rivals, but a bitter rival which came within inches of handing Pope its first subregion loss of the season Oct. 18.
With the Yellow Jackets (2-5, 1-1) down two points with 1:02 left in the fourth quarter, Rodrigo Blankenship’s 57-yard field goal attempt hit the crossbar en route to a 14-12 shortcoming.
“We were 3 inches from a victory,” Sprayberry coach Billy Shackelford said after the game.
Shane Young threw both of his touchdown passes to Miles Wallace, and Torrey Richardson had an interception.
“They are a very athletic team,” Cook said. They got a lot of speed overall. They are very dangerous and we got to approach it in that sense.”
Last season when these two teams met, Kell had success running the football and won 48-28 despite rainy conditions. But Cook realizes history or current records will likely hold very little weight in tonight’s contest.
“It’s a rivalry game,” Cook said. “When Kell was started 11 years ago a part of the school came from Sprayberry, so it’s a rivalry for us, and anytime you play a rivalry game you throw the records out.”
In their 34-7 win over Osborne two weeks ago, the Longhorns led 27-0 at the break. Brendan Langley finished with two receiving touchdowns and added a third on the ground. Khalil Bell added two rushing touchdowns and 89 yards on 13 carries before the much-needed bye week.
“We still practiced four days last week,” Cook said. “I wouldn’t say it was completely an off week but we rested some guys who had been dinged up. That obviously gave some other guys the opportunity to get some reps so they will be prepared in the event if those guys get dinged up again.”
This will be the fifth meeting between Kell and Sprayberry.
“I expect a physical hard-fought game between two groups of players who have pride and want to win the region championship,” Cook said.