But the way schedules are created now, many Cobb County teams are having bye weeks during the first three weeks of the regular season. Half of the Class AAAAAA schools in the county — Walton, McEachern, Hillgrove, Kennesaw Mountain, North Cobb and Marietta — are off this week.
Ten teams — Campbell, Hillgrove, Kell, Marietta, McEachern, Osborne, Sprayberry, Walker, Walton and Wheeler — started a week early on Aug. 23 and will get two bye weeks.
Others will have to play either eight or nine weeks straight after taking a week off early.
Kennesaw Mountain is enjoying it week off after beating Sprayberry in its opener. Afterward, it will play eight straight Region 4AAAAAA games, beginning with South Cobb on the road Sept. 13, and will end the regular season with a game against a team from Region 7AAAAA.
Campbell will have its second bye week during the final week of the season, which means the Spartans will also see all eight region teams in consecutive weeks.
“This early, you don’t get it when you really need it,” Campbell coach Harris Rainbow said. “Bye weeks are good to get your kids rested. The mental grind of football takes its toll on kids, coaches and parents. For us, we’re going nine weeks in a row playing a football game. By that point, you’re going to need it. Having it now isn’t as helpful as it would have been midway through the year.”
Kennesaw Mountain coach Andy Scott would agree, but he is taking a slightly different approach. He said a week off before the first region game is good for the Mustangs to refocus. In terms of practicing every week, and keeping his players conditioned for that long, he will base his intensity of his workouts on the health of his players.
“We get the best of both worlds,” Scott said. “You see things you did well (against Sprayberry) and improve on it, and you see things you don’t do well and correct it in time for region play. If the kids are healthy, you can intensify your practices, but if they’re banged up, you have to be smart.”
That being said, Scott still says it would be nice to have a bye week halfway through the schedule.
Wheeler is another team that had to sit for a week instead of trying to ride the momentum of its 44-14 win over Sprayberry two weeks ago.
The Wildcats jumped on the Yellow Jackets early, taking a four-touchdown lead at the half, which means many of Wheeler’s starters haven’t been on the field for more than two quarters. The Wildcats can only hope to pick up where they left off when they face Pope tonight.
The schedule falls favorably for the Wildcats, as they get another bye the week of Oct. 11.
“A part of me likes it, and part of me would rather go out there (the following week) and correct our errors,” Wheeler coach Mike Collins said. “A chance to hit the fundamentals hard this week and then game plan for next week is a positive thing. We’ll see how we respond.”
For Walton, the early bye week may be a good thing. The Raiders opened the season with tough losses to Peachtree Ridge and Hillgrove, and they will use the off week to prepare to face North Cobb next Friday before the Region 5AAAAAA schedule begins.
Hillgrove and Marietta, which are off to a perfect 2-0 starts, will take advantage of this week to get ready for their 4AAAAAA slates which begin with the Hawks hosting the Blue Devils next Friday.