“Every year, even though the helmets and jerseys look the same, your team is totally different so I’m not really sure if there is anything to read into playing these guys again,” Marietta coach Scott Burton said. “Certainly, they were a very talented team last year and are very talented again this year.”
This rematch will be just the second meeting between these teams and comes on the heels of a
36-15 setback for Marietta (8-2) in the second round of last year’s playoffs.
“They played great defense last year and they are still playing great defense this year,” Burton said. “We had a very difficult time moving the ball against them last year so we can take those lessons and try to learn from them but they still have great players.”
The Wildcats (9-1) held former quarterback Anthony Jennings to 153 passing yards, picked off two of his passes and sacked him nine times.
“We’ve got make sure our players are put in great position then go out and execute, and hopefully we have better luck this year,” Burton said.
KirVonte’ Benson and Brenton Martin will be expected to lead the charge this time around. Benson was critical in the Blue Devils winning their sixth straight game, a 31-27 comeback victory against Harrison last Friday which secured their third consecutive playoff berth.
The junior running back recovered a fumble for a touchdown, returned a punt for a TD and finished with 164 rushing yards on 22 carries. T.J. Bulock returned an interception for a score and Martin threw a touchdown pass to Marcus Bennett.
“We’ve been here before and our players expect to be in the playoffs,” Burton said. “They expect to play well in the playoffs and the fact that we’ve won six straight is important.
“We can certainly ride that momentum but everybody who is still playing at this point realizes that it’s a brand new season and in order for us to continue to play next week we have to play at a high level and maintain our focus.”
Meanwhile, Lovejoy cruised to this point for the second year in a row, routing Alcovy 42-8 last Friday for its ninth straight win and sixth consecutive by way of double digits.
If things get tight down the stretch, the Blue Devils could have an advantage since this month has been highlighted by two close victories, including a 24-21 triumph against North Cobb thanks to a 49-yard field by Ian Shannon as time expired.
Game: Marietta (8-2) at Lovejoy (9-1), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Lovejoy 36, Marietta 15
All-time series: Lovejoy leads 1-0
Prediction: Lovejoy 31, Marietta 20