Game: Paulding County (3-2) at Kell (3-1), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Kell 54, Paulding County 20
All-time series: Kell leads 3-0
Prediction: Kell 34, Paulding County 20
Kell will welcome Region 7AAAAA rivals Paulding County to Cobb EMC/ Corky Kell Stadium on Friday and looks to push their region record above .500 for the first time this season.
Kell enters the game with a 21-20 loss to powerhouse Rome on Sept. 13th still the only blemish on its record. It had last week off, a week coach Brett Sloan and his players spent focusing on the smallest details that could take them from good to great.
“Continuing to clean up the little things and the execution,” Sloan said. “Hopefully at the same time, get the players rested and refreshed and healed up a little bit. There was a very mental focus to practice and we were just trying to correct mistakes and clean up some technical things.”
One of the biggest reasons Kell has taken off this season is quarterback Corbin LaFrance. LaFrance is top-5 in the county in passing yardage with 982 and has thrown 11 touchdowns to zero interceptions.
“We’re really proud of him,” Sloan said. “He’s done a great job. He’s doing exactly what we’ve asked him to do. He’s really coachable, he’s got a great work ethic, and he’s just got a feel for how to play quarterback. You can see his confidence growing.”
LaFrance replaced Evan Conley, who threw for 2,202 yards last season before graduating and moving on to play at Louisville. LaFrance is on pace to surpass that yardage total this year, both because of his own talent and because of the playmakers he has at his disposal.
Kell receivers Jaylon Brown and Jamal Hill have excelled with LaFrance throwing to them. Brown is fourth in the county with 364 receiving yards and Hill is ninth with 288. 51 of LaFrance’s 76 completions so far this season have gone to the duo.
“They both started last year as sophomores so they’ve got that game experience,” Sloan said. “You go back and watch last year’s film and they look like JV players, they don’t look like JV players anymore. The big thing as far as helping Corbin is that they win their one-on-one matchups. They go out there and win their routes and finish plays.”
Sloan compared LaFrance to a point guard in basketball, charged with finding ways to get other players into the best position to succeed once they get the ball. Add Cameron Ball, Xavier Paris, and Arthur Nwandu to the receiving corps and LaFrance has no shortage of playmakers to target.
Defensively, Paulding County will feature Smael Mondon at linebacker, the No. 32 overall prospect in the class of 2021 according to 247Sports. The Longhorns’ offense will need to put up points against him and other talented defenders to keep pace with a Patriots team that is averaging almost 35 points per game through its first five.
“They were really young last year, they’ve got a lot of guys back,” Sloan said. “Big offensive line, the running back cal really roll, he’s a problem if he gets the edge on you. A couple of really good receivers. We’ll have our hands full.”