Campbell opened the 2018 campaign with a 34-20 home victory against Villa Rica. The Spartans wouldn’t pick up another win in 2018, falling to a record of 1-9.
Seven of Campbell’s 10 opponents made the GHSA playoffs, four of those teams won at least one playoff game.
If that isn’t enough of a challenge for new coach Howie Decristofaro, his Spartans will face the same schedule this season, and it is the third hardest among all teams in Cobb County. It’s not one that his players can ease into.
“For us this year, we just have to improve week to week,” Decristofaro said. “Right now we’re at the point where we just have to get better.”
The season opens again with Villa Rica, this year on the road. The Wildcats went 5-5 last season, finishing fifth in Region 7AAAAA.
Villa Rica should roll out a different team than last year though with former Grayson head coach Christian Hunnicutt taking over at the helm.
The biggest name on the non-region schedule is Roswell, coming off what it might consider a disappointing 9-2 season. Roswell was upset by Tift County in the first round of the playoffs.
Decristofaro has experience with the Hornets.
“I’ve been in Georgia for 12 years and if I’m not mistaken, we’ve played Roswell every year,” Decristofaro said. “They’re not new to me. If you go back, my record against Roswell when I was at Milton was 3-3. We beat them at Etowah my first year then they got us back last year. They beat us a couple times when I was at Pope.”
Also awaiting the Spartans in non-region play is Sequoyah, who had a surprising breakout 10-3 season, and North Paulding who dominated Campbell in 2018, 45-0.
“I think you use the non-region schedule as an opportunity to get ready for your region,” Decristofaro said. “At the end of the day, winning the region and being able to make the playoffs is the big thing.”
A duo of new, but familiar coaches at Pebblebrook and Wheeler and the always potent Westlake caps off a competitive, difficult schedule for the Spartans. But they aren’t even thinking about region play now.
“When you have a team that’s inexperienced and lacking in talent, I’m just focusing on Villa Rica because that’s game one,” Decristofaro said. “Let’s make the playoffs and let’s make that a tradition.”