Game: North Cobb Christian (6-3) at Walker (4-5), 7:30 p.m.
Last meeting: North Cobb Christian 27, Walker 7 (Sept. 6, 2019)
All-time series: Walker leads 3-2
Prediction: North Cobb Christian 17, Walker 14
Playoff positioning will be on the line Friday when North Cobb Christian visits Walker for their Region 6A crossover game.
However, Eagles’ (6-3) coach Mark Hollars said he has not thought past this Friday.
“We’re talking to our kids about this one game,” he said. “We know if we play good football and can win, it’s going to be better for us. We really make a big deal about not looking ahead. All that is just a distraction. It’s a waste of energy. All we know for sure is that we’re playing Walker this week.”
The Wolverines (4-5) played their way into contention with a run midway through the season.
They have since lost two straight games by a combined score of 58-14, but coach Matt Casper said he wants to see his team play with the same sense of urgency as it tries to break into the postseason for the first time since 2017.
“When the season started, I think we were overachieving, but we all reset our expectations,” coach Matt Casper said. “We know the playoffs are a real possibility. Last week was a playoff game for us, and we’re looking at it the same this week. If we win, we think we’re in. If not, it’s going to be very difficult.”
It will be the second meeting between the teams this season after North Cobb Christian won 27-7 in Week 2, but that game may not have much bearing on this week’s matchup.
“We played them earlier in the year, and you can see where they’ve gotten a lot better,” Hollar said. “Their quarterback has played well. You can see the growth from earlier in the season. He has a good rapport with his receivers. They work well together. They’re a team that can get it done in the passing game now.”
Led by quarterback Charlie Condon, along with running back Andrew Smith and receiver Omar Cooper, Walker has turned into more of a passing team down the stretch.
“Early on, we had some kids still earning the game and new starters,” Casper said. “Those kids have gained experience. We’re a little bit more of a passing team now with different personnel groups.”
North Cobb Christian will still be in its triple option set, though.
Led by Ryan Pruitt and Caleb Cannon, the Eagles have been able to run the ball this season, but playing a tough schedule that has tested the arm of quarterback Anson Mathis should benefit the offense, according to Hollars.
Game: Trion (5-4) at Mount Paran Christian (4-4), 7:30 p.m.
Last meeting: Mount Paran 7, Trion 6 (Oct. 23, 2015)
All-time series: Mount Paran leads 5-2
Prediction: Mount Paran 24, Trion 17
Mount Paran enters its regular-season finale in unfamiliar territory as it looks for a win over Trion to bolster its playoff hopes.
The Eagles (4-4) find themselves on the fringe of the playoff picture heading into their Region 6A crossover game against the Bulldogs (5-4), but Mount Paran coach Mitch Jordan said he thinks a win can be enough to extend the season.
“We feel like if we can win, we’ll get in,” he said. “We know it’s going to be close. We’re trying not to talk about the playoffs and just focus on winning the game. I think Trion is a good enough team, a win would give us enough points to get in.”
A recent three-game losing streak damaged Mount Paran’s playoff hopes, but the Eagles were able to get back on track last week with a 21-14 win over Pinecrest Academy.
The win did plenty to help the Eagles’ case to make the postseason for the seventh straight year, but it could prove to be just as helpful against Trion.
“Guys not being used to losing, it was a confidence builder as much as anything,” Jordan said. “I think we lost some confidence, and you need that. Getting that late win, I think it’s provided some needed confidence to the kids.”
To end the regular season on a high note, though, Mount Paran will have to survive the Bulldogs’ physical approach.
Offensively, Trion will be in its Wing-T set again, and Mount Paran has spent the week preparing for a different look than it has seen for much of the season.
“It’s different than what we’ve played,” Jordan said. “We just have to match their physicality and tackle. Playing assignment football is going to be key. We have to have eye discipline and read our keys. We’re giving up too many big plays on defense.”
Dual-threat quarterback Niko Vangarelli, who also plays linebacker, leads Cobb County in rushing with 1,258 yards and 13 touchdowns. He has also thrown for 1,209 yards and nine scores this year, and Jordan said the offense will continue to go where he takes it.
— By Alex Resnak
MDJ Sports Correspondent
Game: Christian Heritage (7-2) at Whitefield Academy (6-3), 7:30 p.m.
Last meeting: First meeting
All-time series: First meeting
Prediction: Whitefield Academy 28, Christian Heritage 27
Whitefield Academy’s shot at a third region championship and first since 2008 wasn’t meant to be after the Wolfpack saw their six-game win streak snapped and lost out on the Region 6A (B) division title following a 31-9 loss at Fellowship Christian last week.
Now, Whitefield has set its sights on a different prize entering tonight’s region cross-over matchup versus Christian Heritage.
For Whitefield Academy coach Coleman Joiner and the Wolfpack faithful, the goal is to finish high enough in the power ratings to earn at least a home game in the first round of the Class A private state playoffs.
The 12th-ranked Wolfpack, who have 12.72 ratings points, will likely have to beat sixth-rated Christian Heritage. The top eight squads earn a first-round bye and will host in Round 2. The next eight teams will host games in the first round.
The Lions hold a 14.24 rating and are currently riding a four-game winning streak.
Tonight’s game marks the first meeting between the schools. The Lions’ first varsity season occurred in 2012, while the Wolfpack took to the gridiron as a varsity program for the first time in 2002.
“Christian Heritage is a really complete football team,” Joiner said. “They have a coach who’s well-respected and he’s done a great job with them. Their athleticism gives them one of the most capable teams we’ve seen all season both offensively and defensively and special teams.
“They spread the ball, but they can also run it, too. They play good defense, and they’re going to be out there playing for the same thing we are, which is to get in that top eight and get a bye in the first week.”
Whitefield has found a lot of success at home this season and sports a perfect 4-0 mark entering tonight’s contest.
— By Carlton D. White
MDJ Sports Correspondent