Game: Sprayberry (4-3, 4-1) at Kell (4-3, 4-1), 7:30 p.m.
Last meeting: Kell 35, Sprayberry 0 (Oct. 30, 2015)
All-time series: Kell leads 7-1
Prediction: Kell 38, Sprayberry 31
Sprayberry and Kell would rather not be playing each other for second place, but it looks like that is the position they are in right now.
With both teams having lost to undefeated Allatoona, the next best thing is securing at least one playoff game as the No. 2 seed out of Region 6AAAAAA. That may be decided Friday when they meet at Cobb EMC Corky Kell Stadium.
“It will be huge,” Sprayberry coach Brett Vavra said. “Getting over the hump and winning a big game like this will be huge for the kids.”
Both teams have identical overall and region records of 4-3 and 4-1, respectively. Both teams also have explosive offenses that can score quickly.
But there is one difference in how they prefer to move the ball.
Sprayberry’s strength is running the football behind the two-headed monster of Damarion Owens and Isaiah Abbey. Kell is known to throw the ball with two standout receivers in Jamal Hill and Jaylon Brown and a strong-armed quarterback in Corbin LaFrance who does well in the pocket.
That said, this could be a shootout that could come down to which team has the ball last.
Sprayberry has used a third bye week this season to prepare for Kell. The Yellow Jackets were scheduled last week to play Pope, which was under quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns. While Sprayberry prefers to have played the Greyhounds, they used the extra week to its advantage to make early preparations for Kell.
“Introducing the kids to Kell and getting them started was good for us,” Vavra said. “Offensively, they are very athletic on the outside at the receiver positions. Their quarterback does a good job staying composed and throwing underneath.”
Vavra also commented on Kell’s strong defensive front and is important to establish the run earlyt behind Owens and Abbey.
Meanwhile, Kell is looking to bounce back from its first region loss to Allatoona last week. The Longhorns had a tough time staying balanced against Allatoona’s stalwart defense.
While LaFrance threw for 238 yards and two touchdowns, Allatoona held them to negative yardage on the ground and LaFrance was sacked five times.
In hopes of keeping Sprayberry from running the clock with its running back tandem, the Longhorns would like to mix the running game with the short and deep passes.
“We want to maintain balance,” Kell coach Brett Sloan said. “(Sprayberry) is aggressive on defense so you want to maintain a form of balance. We have to make sure we control the tempo and the pace of the game a little bit.”