Game: Hiram (5-3, 5-1) at Kell (6-2, 4-2), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Kell 30, Hiram 0
All-time series: Kell leads 4-1
Prediction: Kell 28, Hiram 20
Kell will likely be playing for the No. 3 seed out of Region 7AAAAA when the Longhorns face Hiram at Cobb Energy/Corky Kell Stadium.
Kell has two region losses and is currently fourth in the region behind Carrollton, Rome and Hiram. Carrollton is still perfect in the region with Rome and Hiram having one loss each.
The Longhorns dropped a 34-14 decision to region leader Carrollton at home two weeks ago and lost a tough 21-20 decision to Rome in the 7AAAAA opener. Kell was the dominant team in their remaining region wins, the latest being a 35-0 shutout at Cass last week.
“It’s a big game as far as playoff seedings go,” Kell coach Brett Sloan said. “A loss would put us in a tie for third or the fourth spot. We don’t want to get into a situation where it comes down to tiebreakers. They are anxious to get out there and play again.”
During their region stretch, the Longhorns has had to cope with multiple defensive players not being 100 percent due to injury. While a few starters on the defensive side sat out against Cass, Sloan said his players are getting healthier and could be ready to play tonight.
The plan for Kell is to establish and stop the run.
The Longhorns have run the ball well in the last few weeks. David Mbadinga is nearing 1,000 rushing yards with 918 and has eight touchdowns on the season. Tyler Barrett can also make plays on the ground, scoring twice in the second half against Cass on 35- and 65-yard runs.
However, Sloan said Kell needs to polish its passing attack going into its final two games of the regular season, even with Corbin LaFrance second in Cobb County with 1,701 yards.
“We want to be balanced,” Sloan said. “(Hiram) likes to play a lot of man, and it will give our guys opportunities to win a lot of matchups.”
Even with the injury bug, Kell’s defense yields an average of 11 points a game. Bill McCritty already has 10.5 sacks and Vincent Dinkins has 5.5 go to with his 55 tackles. Nate Byck also sits at 55 tackles with Brandon Hall leading the team with 98.