Game: Banneker (1-1) at Hillgrove (2-0)
Last year: Hillgrove 42, Banneker 13
All-time series: Hillgrove leads 1-0
Prediction: Hillgrove 35, Banneker 14
Hillgrove may have figured out its penalty problems just in time when the Hawks host reigning Region 6AAAAA champion Banneker for a non-region clash at Cobb Energy/Hillgrove Stadium tonight.
Hillgrove totaled 18 penalties for 140 yards in its season-opening victory at Douglas County. Nearly half of those miscues were pre-snap penalties that moved the Hawks back roughly five yards.
Hillgrove coach Phil Ironside had a simple message for his players following that game in the days leading up to last week’s win over Pebblebrook.
“I told them to stop it,” he said.
The message paid off as Hillgrove drastically cut down on the number of penalties it accumulated against the Falcons.
“We had a lot of penalties Week 1,” Ironside said. “A lot of them were pre-snap penalties, which is uncharacteristic for us. A lot of that blame goes on me for not having the kids ready to go. But, we were able to cut (the penalties) back against Pebblebrook.
“I think a lot of it had to do with nerves and jitters and being on the road for the first game of the game. We were home last week and, I think, the kids got that nervousness out of their system and they played better.”
The Hawks also played a lot better as unit overall from Game 1 to Game 2. Ironside expects that effort and discipline to continue.
“The kids played hard both weeks,” he said about the team’s improvement. “Their decision-making was good. They didn’t turn the ball over, and we had an opportunity to play a lot of kids. Consistency is going to be big for us this week.”
Banneker recorded its first win of the season for first-year coach Lou George in the Trojans’ 41-30 triumph against B.E.S.T Academy last week. Ironside and his staff’s review of Banneker highlights the Trojans as a team that will be difficult to contain.
“Banneker runs a Wing-T offense, which isn’t something we see week-in and week-out,” he said. “We’ll be ready, though,” They’re well coached and run a difficult 3-3 stack defense that will present some problems. But, I think our defense will be up to the challenge.
“We have a lot of new kids on that side of the ball, but they’re plugging away and making tough for teams to score on us. Guys are rallying to the football and I’m proud of that.”