It will try to do just that tonight against Harrison after suffering its first loss against McEachern 42-28 last week.
“Every game here on out, when you drop one, is a big game.” South Cobb coach Ed Koester said. “Harrison is big. They’re tough as nails.”
Harrison (4-2, 3-1 Region 4AAAAAA) comes into this game off a bye week and extra momentum from beating rival Kennesaw Mountain in a close game.
“It’s great to be able to keep our hands on ‘the Bell’” said Harrison coach Marty Galbraith, after the team’s “Battle of the Bell” win against Kennesaw Mountain. “I know it means a lot to the community and to the kids. And to be able to pick up another region win gives us good momentum heading into our bye week.”
While the Hoyas have momentum, South Cobb (5-1, 3-1) is trying not to focus on what happened last week.
“It’s a disappointing loss,” Koester said. “Any time you have a chance to put yourself in the driver’s seat and you don’t, that’s disappointing. It’s kind of like taking your wife to dinner, and the restaurant is out of lobster.
“It’s over, it’s done with. We have to improve on the things we didn’t do well and we have to move on.”
Coming toward the latter part of the regular season, every game takes on added importance for teams at the top of the standings. Harrison and South Cobb are 3-1 in region play as part of a four-way tie for second place in the region behind McEachern. To the victor will go the spoils of getting some separation from the rest of the region, and an opportunity to take one step closer to the postseason.
But before either Harrison or South Cobb can look toward the future, they must prepare for tonight. For South Cobb, that means focusing on the mental aspect of the game that may have hindered them last week. The Eagles were still coming off the high of beating North Cobb the previous week.
“Too many positives came out of it from the standpoint of kids beginning to think they are better than they are,” Koester said. “I can’t say that that’s what they were. But when you are like us, I don’t care if we had 30 years of consecutive winning seasons, we would still be an emerging program. We’re in that process of getting some recognition of being a competitor, someone to play against.
“You don’t always handle success well. I think Urban Meyer said the toughest thing to do is to handle success.”
Instead of focusing on what didn’t work last week and on what they didn’t focus on, Koester said he prefers for the team to get back to its base. For South Cobb, that means a return to the simplest and most important part of the game.
“If you can’t tackle anybody, then you can’t beat anybody. If you can’t block anybody, then you’re not going to score any points. When you tackle poorly and block poorly against speed, it becomes magnified greatly and McEachern has their fair share of speed.”