Harrison has won three of its first four games to start the season after finishing with just three wins all of last season. The Hoyas have a chance to make waves in Region 4AAAAAA, if they can come out with a win. But Harrison coach Marty Galbraith says that his ambitions are more inwardly focused.
“I think all of the games have been meaningful, especially the region games,” he said. “I think the kids are real excited about winning a game on the road. They hadn’t won a homecoming game, and they wanted to win homecoming. I think they had lost to Pebblebrook two years in a row. For the seniors, that was a big game.
“Their approach is that they had a few goals they wanted to go get, but you have to walk before you can run. Right now, it’s just a process. We’ve been able to win three games because we played hard and the kids finished the game. But we haven’t really played exceptionally well.”
Following an upset win over Walton, the Warriors are undefeated through three games and have a chance to make it four. The Warriors have yet to score less than 40 points this season, and have held their opposition to single digits twice.
In all three facets of the game, the Warriors have been nearly perfect.
“I think there (are) a lot of intangibles,” North Cobb coach Shane Queen said earlier this week. “Our kicking game has been doing very well. Kicking it into the end zone gives opponents a long field. Our defense has played well through the first three games, and it gives our offense more chances. It comes down to opportunities and it’s been a team effort.”
With regard to special teams, both teams have shown strength in that area of the game. North Cobb’s Xavier Borishade returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown against Walton and returned a punt for a touchdown against Kennesaw Mountain last week. At Harrison, they have been able to get into the backfield and block kicks and flip the field with long punts from Marietta Daily Journal Dynamite Dozen punter Jimmy Hutchinson.
More than just improving on special teams, Galbraith says that in order to turn a program around, it has taken some attention to many small details, including many of those that are not often seen from the stands.
“When you start a whole new program, we made little things like substitutions on the kicking game and things like that,” he said. “We’ve gotten better. But, at the same time, we’re not consistent enough. The offense kind of carried the defense and vice versa at times. We’ve played well enough to win three games, but we haven’t had a game where we have come out and played good the whole game. We are trying to get through a game without turning the ball over and having few penalties, just things that make all of the difference in football games.”
In order to have a chance against North Cobb, Harrison will have to limit those turnovers. They will also have to deal with what Galbraith considers to be a team with superior athletes.
“They’ve got a lot more speed,” he said. “The teams we have played have skill guys, but (North Cobb has) four or five that have skill. If you make a mistake, they’ll turn a five-yard gain into a 70-yard gain. The night we played Alpharetta, their quarterback was really good. But Shane’s son is playing really good and really smart. He has a year under his belt and is making the right decisions. You can’t make a mistake against them because they can exploit you.”
On top of that, the Hoyas will have to find an answer for North Cobb’s improved improved rushing attack led by Quinten James and J’Vonte Herrod.