Game: Kennesaw Mountain (0-1) at Riverwood (2-0), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Kennesaw Mountain 31, Riverwood 26
All-time series: Kennesaw Mountain leads 1-0
Prediction: Riverwood 14, Kennesaw Mountain 7
Kennesaw Mountain got a wakeup call on defense in its season opener with 10 new starters.
The Mustangs started slow against Paulding County, which had a dynamic rushing attack. They got behind early, trailing by as many as 20 points in the second quarter, and were unable to catch up. Kennesaw Mountain gave up 21 unanswered points in the second half and lost 48-10 to a Patriot team that totaled 355 rushing yards.
Getting off to a more aggressive start is what the Mustangs have keyed in on this week before they make their road trip to Sandy Springs to face Riverwood. They are concentrating on finishing tackles, finishing plays.
“When you replace as many guys as we have, it’s imperative that you get off to a fast start,” Kennesaw Mountain coach Caleb Carmean said. “I think our kids wanted it and played hard but we have to do a better job finishing plays offensively.”
If there was a bright spot in Kennesaw Mountain’s loss, it’s the offensive line. Carmean said his linemen have progressed from Kennesaw Mountain’s scrimmage to the season opener and is looking forward to seeing his linemen progress even further.
Thanks largely to the front line, running back Tyshon Jenkins also had a productive game for the Mustangs. He finished with 142 yards on 18 carries. Also, first-year starting quarterback Luke Staggs had two touchdown passes to Xavier Rogers and Tyler Fields.
Now the Mustangs have their sights set for Riverwood, which is 2-0 to start the season that includes a blowout victories over Chattahoochee and McIntosh.
It’s the Raiders’ speed that Kennesaw Mountain is most concerned about.
“They got a lot of speed on both sides of the ball,” Carmean said. “We’re going to have to run the ball and stop the run. That’s where it starts and ends. They also do a good job getting to the edge so we’re going to have to finish plays.”