’Hounds can’t contain QB Drakeford
by Tom Mudrak
MDJ Sports Correspondent
October 26, 2013 02:03 AM | 2778 views | 19 19 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Riverwood’s Grant Drakeford runs into a pile of Pope defenders Friday. Drakeford ran for three touchdowns as the Raiders won the battle for the subregion’s No. 2 seed.
Riverwood’s Grant Drakeford runs into a pile of Pope defenders Friday. Drakeford ran for three touchdowns as the Raiders won the battle for the subregion’s No. 2 seed.
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MARIETTA — Playoff positioning was on the line Friday night at Pope, where Riverwood and the host Greyhounds squared off for the No. 2 seed in Region 7AAAAA (B).

After spotting Pope six points, Riverwood began an offensive onslaught, scoring 28 unanswered points before halftime,

on the way to a 35-19 victory.

Option quarterback Grant Drakeford was instrumental in guiding the Raiders (6-3, 3-1) to the win, going 5-of-10 through the air and rushing for three touchdowns.

“He did what Grant does. He’s a winner,” Riverwood coach Robert Ingram said. “We go as Grant goes, and (Friday) we followed him to the win.”

Last week, Ingram said his team would have to start fast to beat Pope (3-5, 2-1), and his team responded — at least defensively. The Greyhounds accumulated 56 yards of offense in the first half, while quarterback Taylor Wolf only completed two of 13 passes. The junior ultimately finished 6-of-21 for 46 yards with three interceptions on the evening.

The Greyhounds got on the board first, with a 48-yard interception return by Ben Doran providing a 6-0 lead. But Riverwood responded with scoring drives of 75, 39, 79, and 65 yards to bring the score to 28-6 at the half.

“We thought they would try to hold up the line of scrimmage, and we knew we needed to use our speed to get outside, and we did that.” Ingram said.

Riverwood took advantage of defensive miscues by Pope early, catching the Greyhounds on two flea-flickers in the first half, including one for a 32-yard touchdown thrown by Marcus Rosser.

“I’m ecstatic about the win,” Ingram said. “But like I told the kids, there is a difference between being a very good football team and a great football team, and we want to make that jump.”

The Raiders came out of the tunnel strong, driving 93 yards on their opening drive of the second half to extend the lead to 35-6. The drive was capped by a 3-yard run by Drakeford.

Pope was able to tack on two late touchdowns as Mason Shiflett and Wolf each found the end zone.

“We couldn’t beat their DBs 1-on-1, and when we got something going, we turned the ball over, and you can’t do that against good teams,” Pope coach Matt Kemper said. “Our goal is to get back into the playoffs, and our kids will respond to that.”

Now third in the subregion behind Kell and Riverwood, Pope will host the leading Longhorns next week. If the Greyhounds can upset undefeated Kell, it would create a three-way tie in the subregion, ahead of the Nov. 8 play-in game for a state playoff berth.

A loss for Pope against Kell, and it will be the subregion’s No. 3 seed, with a trip to the No. 2 team of the region’s northern half, likely Sequoyah, for a playoff berth.

Comments
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Playoffs?
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October 31, 2013
Hmmmmm. Makes you wonder who "realistic Pope fan "really is, doesn't it? But I got something for them. In case you have not been to the games the past couple of years, with the exception of Kell,[who recruits] it does not take a load of blue chippers to beat these teams in our division. As a matter of fact Cambridge did not have as much talent as we did and we lost. Also with Frost at Qb any coach would have had success. Holland Frost won very many games almost single handed that we would have lost otherwise. Kemper was in the right place at the right time. Before and after the Frost years there is no "great success". Now that he has "less talent" his lack of coaching skills are exposed. As far as the "no coach in the state would want to coach at Pope" comment, you must be inebriated or for some reason ignorant or disconnected. There are coaches every year that would take the opportunity to be a head coach in a a town like ours in a heartbeat. If you are not aware of that then you don't know HS football. And for those who are not aware like Realistic Pope fan, there are quite a few good players on our team and some speed as well. The real problem is bad coaching on both sides of the ball and a telegraphed offense with 5 plays. No one expected Pope to be amazing this year and it's not even the fact that we are losing, it's how we are losing and Kemper goes into surrender mode waaaaayyy to fast. I have seen him quit on our team 4 times in 2 seasons. If Kemper is going to hang around at Pope for a while then he needs to get new assistant coaches at the very least because the ones we have now are worthless!
Program Decline
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October 31, 2013
Playoffs?,

Now you're really hitting the "truth of the matter". Coaches would salivate at the opportunity to coach at a school and area like this. Very few problem kids' etc. Most people don't subscribe to the "less talent" charge unless it is a demographic reference. We do not have a superstar like Frost, but we have plenty of talent. We are competitive in so many other physical sports at this school, but many of the top performers don't want to play football - and they were extremely good players until this program ran them off (some run around the field and cheer the team on now). Attracting, motivating and retaining players IS part of the job. The Walton comment is so incredibly ignorant. Look at their competition vs ours. Word has it that we will be 6A once again soon. Let's strive to do more and quit making excuses.
PopeHomer
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October 30, 2013
As a long time East Cobb resident and Pope alumni, I was in the 1st graduating class, I am disgusted by what Pope's football program has become. We have never been a very good team record wise but even in the worse years we seemed to send our kids out on the field prepared and ready to play. Ever since Frost graduated this coaching staff has been exposed as the worst in the county. The offense runs the same plays over and over with no success, the defense looks like a practice team for our opponent's 1st offense, and nobody on either side of the ball will hit anyone. Deplorable job of coaching week in and week out.
GoHounds
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October 30, 2013
You guys are an embarrassment and the worst kind of fan. Do you not remember what Pope football used to be? 3 wins was a success. This head coach has taken a perennial laughingstock to the playoffs 3 years in a row...something never done at this school. After years of success never seen at Pope, this staff runs into one season with an unbelievable amount of adversity and struggles and you want a change. Frankly, it's laughable. Oh, and for these other "thriving" East Cobb programs....Walton has 4 losses and is looking at not going to the playoffs and Wheeler has become a dumpster fire. You will never know how hard high school football coaches and players work. How about showing some support when things are tough instead of pointing fingers? Be careful what you wish for or you may just find yourself back at 1-9.
PopeFBallFan
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October 28, 2013
The offense was non-existent through the first half of this game which speaks to the lack of creativity in offensive play calling. It was obvious after the play that they were ready for the run to the outside but we continued to try to do this without any hope of success.

However, on a bleak night for the team, the worst coaching decision was saved for the last 2 minutes. OK, maybe it's a long shot to try and score twice in such a short period, but at least give the team a chance to succeed. Pulling all the starters was nothing short of disgraceful and demonstrated (for at least the second time this year) that the head coach had given up. This not only sends a terrible message to the team, it's also evidence of the lack of drive, determination and will to win present in the current head coach.

This may be an unpopular remark but it's time for a change. The program is becoming increasingly insignificant at a time other east cobb programs are excelling.
Program Decline
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October 28, 2013
PopeFBallFan,

I wish I had seen your post before mine. So well stated. Get ready for the running clock this week in second half - another part of the "giving up" mentality. How many times have we done that this year, 2 or 3?

I don't get why we aren't more dynamic on both sides of the ball. That team Friday was not very good, yet they had a game plan built for us. Do we ever do that? Looks the same every week on offense and defense.

I for one agree with your conclusions. There are many more as I hear it at the games.
Playoffs?
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October 28, 2013
You are absolutely correct PopeFBallFan.
Pope fan
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October 29, 2013
Good comments. I agree that he gave up......again. I still can't get past the decisions made at the end of the half at Etowah. Also, it appears that if you are a coaches son the personal foul team rule apparently does not apply. 2 more personal fouls vs Riverwood and once again they did not come off the field.

Realistic Pope Fan
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October 29, 2013
You say change? There isn't a Coach in this State that would be willing to Coach at Pope, Kemper has coached at Pope for 5 years with great success, the only thing that is different is the lack of talent!!!!
Daddy bawl
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October 29, 2013
Pope fan I salute you...fInally someone else telling the sad story about an ugly truth at this school....daddy ball alive n well. Don't forget about freshman don't play rule to....and the seasons of trying to force the ball to a coaches son who had no business getting it....or the dad/coach son transfer last year who left as quick as they came....come on man!
Program Decline
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October 30, 2013
Realistic Pope Fan,

How is it that Walton, Lassiter and Kell don't suffer from this lack of talent? Please attend another area game that doesn't include Pope or Sprayberry and note the quality of coaching. These teams actually adjust to their opponents and enter the games with a plan. Another milquetoast fan happy with making the first round of the playoffs. I bet you wouldn't be happy if your kid's math class was second or third tier.
Houndfan526
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October 27, 2013
Looks like 3-7 and no playoff likely. Sad for a program that had it going in right direction. Coaching plan actually decent last 2 games but execution by players not good QB and DB play especially. Lets hope I'm wrong but things haven't looked good out their, fundamentals still poor
Program Decline
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October 28, 2013
Hound526 your comments on position players may be dead on however do not agree with coaching plan comment. Playoffs? has it right. Truth is from 8th grade on up wins have been tough to come by. Culture is not in place to succeed. Fear the whole darn thing is going to collapse. Epic failure of leadership - really too bad for palyers and fans!!
Playoffs?
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October 28, 2013
It is not the QB,DB or any other kids fault. Look at what Kemper is asking that kid to do. He won't even line up a tail back and gives him no creativity to work with. Anyone who knows any football can guess the play before the ball is snapped. As for the DB's, they have not been taught to defend correctly and are usually out of position. If you watch closely, the assistant coaches are slack at Pope and are merely there to watch the game. We definitely have had some set backs with players who quit, failed out or became traitors and play for someone else now, but these kids are playing hard and deserve better on the coaching end.
Houndfan526
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October 29, 2013
Let me clarify my remarks. I am not trying to single out any one player or group of players. Truth is though in Sprayberry game our coaches must have recognized (or they were simply lucky)that the safety was shooting up to defend sweep thus leaving the slot receiver wide open on go rout. We missed this pass 3 or 4 times which would have seriously changed the game. Execution was way off and coaching seemed to be right in that instance.
Playoffs?
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October 26, 2013
Out coached again on every level, and gave up at the end. Riverwood was totally prepared for us and we were not at all prepared for them. I think our offensive playbook can fit on a post-it note.
PopeFBallFan
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October 28, 2013
Post-it note? Postage stamp more likely...
Very sad
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October 29, 2013
The flattest most un inspiring football i have ever seen. The team has taken on the the demeanor of the head coach and the coaching staff.

The players and the school deserve better....
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