Last year: North Cobb 41, Hillgrove 14
All-time series: Hillgrove leads 2-1
Prediction: Hillgrove 35, North Cobb 28
Region 4AAAAAA will get a makeover tonight at Cobb Energy/Hillgrove Stadium with No. 10 North Cobb visiting eighth-ranked Hillgrove in a battle of region unbeatens.
Both squads have had impressive performances so far this season and have lived up to their reputations as tough teams to defeat. The Warriors are averaging 40.8 points per game, while opponents to 15.0 per contest. Meanwhile, the Hawks are averaging 38.4 points per outing and giving up 20.6 points per game.
Perennial playoff contender Walton tested both teams with Hillgrove winning 47-35 at neutral Walter Cantrell Stadium, while North Cobb dropped a 28-13 decision at Raider Valley. The Hawks managed to slow down the Raiders’ offense and kept them off the field, which is something the Warriors had a hard time doing. North Cobb learned a lot from that game, and hopes to use that knowledge against Hillgrove.
Tonight’s winner will remain undefeated in region play, maintain a stronger path towards hosting a potential first-round state playoff berth, hold the edge in case of a tiebreaker and stay on track to a possible region championship.
Both teams understand the stakes surrounding this contest, and have worked hard all week to set the proper tone.
“We didn’t play well in the first half last week,” said North Cobb coach Shane Queen regarding his team’s 42-13 victory over South Cobb. “We played like we practiced. We weren’t making plays and we weren’t executing well.
“I talked to the seniors this week to help our team get more focused on their assignments and to start fast. This week is a big challenge for us. Hillgrove is one of the top teams in the state and they’ve proved that every year. This time, it’s no different.”
The Hawks have playmakers all over the field in quarterback Elijah Ironside, running back Richardre Bagley and wide receiver Justin Denton. Phil Davis is the team’s leading tackler.
The Warriors will counter with quarterback Tyler Queen, running back J’Vonte Herrod and wide receiver Devin Granville. Cameron Albright is one of the team’s leading tacklers.
“Their quarterback has thrown for around 18 touchdowns in five games, so he’s a big challenge for us,” Shane Queen said. “Hillgrove is an explosive team with a ton of speed, so our defense will have to step up.”
— By Carlton White
Game: Campbell (2-4, 0-4) at Pebblebrook (2-4, 0-4), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Pebblebrook 31, Campbell 13
All-time series: Pebblebrook leads 9-8
Prediction: Campbell 35, Pebblebrook 21
Both Campbell and Pebblebrook started the season in impressive fashion, winning their first two games against quality opponents, and entered Region 4AAAAAA play with a lot of confidence.
However, the victories have been less frequent since region games began with both teams going on four-game losing streaks entering tonight’s matchup at Falcons Stadium.
One team will be able to change its fortunes with a victory, and it will come down to execution and eliminating mistakes to make that happen.
“Our expectations this week are the same as they are every week — to win the game,” Campbell coach Harris Rainbow said. “It’s no different. We want our guys to go out there and play hard and hope the kids respond well to what’s happening. We’ll see how it goes from there.”
Campbell appears to have the edge offensively. The Spartans are averaging 30.3 points per game compared to only 12.8 for the Falcons. The two teams are about equal defensively with Campbell allowing 31.3 points per contest and the Falcons giving up 28.8. The Spartans’ home-field advantage could also play a role.
“Every game takes on a life of its own,” Rainbow said. “We’ve done some good things offensively in games. We want to continue to have good drives and to put points on the board, but putting points on the board doesn’t mean that we’ve played well overall.
“The goal is to win the game, but we’d rather do it by eliminating our mistakes, taking care of the football and playing good defense.”
Pebblebrook’s offensive woes have come against good defensive teams. The Falcons didn’t have quarterback Dezmond Huntley in their game against Marietta, but he was available last week at Hillgrove, completing seven passes for 140 yards as Pebblebrook scored 21 second-quarter points.
“Our offense isn’t generating a lot of points, but hopefully that will change (tonight),” Pebblebrook coach Tommy Macon said. “Everybody’s getting healthy and that should help us on both sides of the football.
“We’ll need all of our healthy bodies because Campbell’s defense is all over the place. They have a lot of speed guys over there and we’re going to have to block well to get our offense a chance to execute. Campbell played well against McEachern, so we can’t overlook them.”
— By Carlton White
Game: South Cobb (2-3, 2-1) at McEachern (6-0, 4-0), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: McEachern 42, South Cobb 28
All-time series: McEachern leads 27-4
Prediction: McEachern 38, South Cobb 14
McEachern has convincingly won four straight games against South Cobb, and six in a row overall, and have the potential to do so again in a Region 4AAAAAA matchup.
But the Indians will have to be a little more focused after the opening kickoff in this one unlike last week, when they trailed by double digits early to Campbell before rallying in the second half for a 49-35 victory.
“We had some adversity and I think we handled it well, so it was a good growing and learning experience for us,” McEachern coach Kyle Hockman said.
Quarterback Ty Clemons continued to display his speed, running for 252 yards and three touchdowns on just 11 carries. He also threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to help offset 17 penalties for 161 yards.
“All year we’ve had certain objectives we have been trying to really focus on each week,” Hockman said. “For the most part, our guys have handled those objectives and reacted well so I’m expecting them to bounce back and play much better this week — be focused on the improvements we got to make.”
Meanwhile, the Eagles failed to hold onto a 10-0 halftime lead against North Cobb last Friday, losing 42-13 on the road.
Kylil Carter scored South Cobb’s lone touchdown.
“Their quarterback is a heck of a player,” Hockman said. “We will be focused on him. Athletically, they are going to match up well. We’re just going to have to execute.”
— By Maurice Dixon
MDJ Sports Writer
Game: Kennesaw Mountain (1-4, 0-4) at Marietta (3-2, 1-2), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Marietta 56, Kennesaw Mountain 21
All-time series: Marietta leads 6-1
Prediction: Marietta 35, Kennesaw Mountain 7
It’s been a tough start for Kennesaw Mountain this season but running back Jamari Carter has been a constant for the Mustangs.
His efforts will certainly be needed when the Mustangs face Marietta tonight.
A defensive back his sophomore season before Andy Scott was named coach in 2012, Scott took notice of Carter’s speed and toughness, he converted him to a running back.
“The thing that most impressed us was his toughness,” Scott said. “He can take a lick and keep on ticking. He runs extremely hard and comes back play after play after play.”
It was a great move on Scott’s part. Carter has 534 yards on 90 carries this season with five touchdowns.
A few things that make Carter stand out — he has an understanding of Kennesaw Mountain’s offense, he’s aware of how plays develop and he has a sense of where the blocking schemes are. He can also see the field well.
Carter’s also added weight and strength from last season and has attended virtually summer workout.
“He’s doing a great job for us,” Scott said. “One thing that makes him so dynamic, he’s a track kid that runs hard and has great speed. He’s been someone who has really helped us with our running game.”
In Kennesaw Mountain’s 48-27 win over Sprayberry to open the 2013 season, Carter rushed 17 times for 110 yards and scored two touchdowns — his longest touchdown run coming from 45 yards.
Carter and the Mustangs will be facing a Marietta team that is coming off a bye week. Marietta’s defense gave up just 141 total yards against Pebblebook two weeks ago.
“Playing Kennesaw Mountain requires discipline, focus and attention to detail because of what they do scheme-wise offensively and defensively,” Marietta coach Scott Burton said. “We’re challenging our guys to pay attention to detail, and if you’re not, they can hurt you in a hurry with their schemes.”
— By Adam Carrington