Game: Hillgrove (1-5, 0-1) at Marietta (3-3, 0-1), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Hillgrove 32, Marietta 14
All-time series: Hillgrove leads 9-2
Prediction: Marietta 42, Hillgrove 38
Tyler Hughes has come up with a number of big performances during his career at Marietta.
The senior quarterback and Southern University commitment added another one to his already impressive resume last Friday, completing 23 of 35 passes for 469 yards and four touchdowns as well as rushing for 115 yards on 15 carries and one score in the Blue Devils’ 45-42 to North Paulding.
Now, Hughes will try to help bring a win as well as another strong outing for Marietta as it hosts Hillgrove in a Region 3AAAAAA game at Northcutt Stadium.
Hughes — the county’s leading passer with 112 completions on 175 attempts for 1,786 yards and 22 touchdowns against only three interceptions —has come a long way in his development as a quarterback, according to Marietta coach Richard Morgan.
“He’s matured into a really good quarterback,” Morgan said. “He’s a great athlete. He’s really starting to take off with his leadership skills. He’s starting to evolve and he’s a dynamic quarterback and obviously he’s a Division I talent. He’s just having an absolutely phenomenal year.”
Hughes will try to help get Marietta back on the winning track as the Blue Devils attempt to end a two-game losing streaks after a 31-26 loss to Brookwood on Sept. 24 as well as their 3AAAAAAA opening loss to North Paulding last week.
Nevertheless, Hillgrove coach Justin DeShon is expecting a battle from the Blue Devils.
“They have a great passing game and a good offense,” DeShon said. “The quarterback (Hughes) is a veteran and doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. Defensively, they’re talented and have a couple of guys who really get to the football. It’s a tough challenge always going to Marietta for homecoming. So the kids are excited to go over there and get going.”
The Blue Devils will host a Hillgrove team that is trying to find its groove as well as it tries to bounce back from last Friday’s 52-35 region-opening loss to Walton.
The Hawks have a quality quarterback of their own in Chase McCravy, who completed 16 of 25 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 62 yards on 13 carries against Walton.
“They’ve got some good guys in space with some speed,” Morgan said. “They’re always going to have good-sized linemen. They always want to pound the ball a little bit, but the quarterback can run too and they have always played traditionally good defense. So I think it will be an extremely difficult game for us.”