Last year: First meeting
All-time series: First meeting
Prediction: Hillgrove 24, Walton 21
Hillgrove and Walton meet for the first time tonight with both programs looking to shore up some deficiencies in their style of play.
The Hawks opened the season last week with a
26-6 victory at Westlake, while the Raiders dropped a heartbreaking 23-17 decision to Peachtree Ridge at the Georgia Dome.
In both instances, the offenses failed to show up in the second half. Walton held a 14-3 lead late in the first quarter and was ahead 17-16 at halftime before being shut out for the final 24 minutes. Hillgrove was in front 26-0 at halftime, but failed to score in the second half.
Neither coach wants a repeat of that performance.
“We were up 14-3 and every offensive possession we had was stopped by penalities,” Walton coach Rocky Hidalgo said. “The big thing we focused on (this week) was making sure we take care of the little things.
“Defensively, we didn’t do the little things in the second half and that allowed (Peachtree Ridge) to have success running the football. Obviously, as the season goes on, you hope to get in better shape. The big thing for us is doing all of the little things we need to do to win.”
While the Raiders hope to avoid their first 0-2 start since 2006, the Hawks are seeking a 2-0 mark for the fourth time in five seasons.
“We worked on correcting things we did that killed drives in the second half,” coach Phil Ironside said. “It was a good week of work with the kids because Walton is a high pressure offense and we’ll need to be able to match up with them.”
Hillgrove wants to maintain the strong start it had against Westlake throughout the matchup with the Raiders.
“When we got our tempo going, we were at our best,” Ironside said. “We were clicking in those first and second quarters and the defense got the ball back to us.
“In the second half, we couldn’t establish a rhythm. Part of that is mental, part of it is execution. Walton will be a good test for us and a good measuring stick to know where we stand.”
— By Carlton D. White
Game: Lassiter at McEachern, 9 p.m.
Last meeting: Lassiter 20, McEachern 17 (Nov. 18, 2011)
All-time series: Lassiter leads 1-0
Prediction: McEachern 30, Lassiter 28
Lassiter opens its season tonight, while McEachern is on a short week after thumping Brookwood
31-10 in its season opener last Saturday night at the Georgia Dome.
The Indians may have an advantage, having played a game to know what works well and what doesn’t. Coach Kyle Hockman praised his defense, which returns nine starters from last year’s team, or setting the stage.
McEachern found out it can run the ball. The Indians rolled up more than 300 yards on the ground behind Taj Griffin, who finished with 165 yards on 10 inclduing a 90-yard touchdown. Quarterback Ty Clemons ran for 109 yards and a touchdown.
Lassiter still has a few questions that need answered, the main one being the camaraderie between his new starting quarterback Will Anderson and the mostly new batch of receivers he will be working with.
The Trojans are having to replace Missouri freshman Eddie Printz and receivers Willie Police, Juwan Dickey and Ryan Jenkins.
But returning receivers Duby Nwaubi and Blake Wilson were contributors last year and should help Lassiter.
But Lassiter has made strides defensively, however, and stopping McEachern’s running game will be key. Clay Roelle and Chris Murphy are returning to anchor the secondary.
Corey John is one of Lassiter’s quicker defensive ends and while none of Lassiter’s linebackers were starters, they are seniors with varsity
However, if Lassiter’s offense doesn’t keep the chains moving against the McEachern defense the Trojans may have a short field to defend.
“The biggest thing for us is to not give up big plays,” Lassiter coach Jep Irwin said. “It will be an interesting challenge for us. Their No. 3 tailback is just as good as their No. 1 tailback.”
— By Adam Carrington