Both runners have excellent chances of reaching the 1,800-yard rushing mark, which would make them the 15th and 16th backs from Cobb County to reach that plateau since 1995.
Bettistea, who has 1,512 yards through eight games, has an excellent chance to reach the 2,000-yard mark as well. Over the last 20 years, that has been accomplished only five other times. Ironically, it has happened three times over the previous two seasons as offenses within the county have started to go toward spread offenses and putting more emphasis on the passing game.
Walker’s Evan Kasian ran for 2,080 yards in 2012. Walton’s Tyren Jones (2,375) and Allatoona’s Miles Jones (2,139) accomplished the feat in 2011. Prior to the Joneses, it had been seven years since a runner reached 2,000. In 2004, Walton’s Justin Forte set the Cobb County rushing record of 2,395 yards. He had broken the previous mark of 2,247 that Pebblebrook’s Justin Thomas had set in 2000.
If Bettistea continues on his pace of 189 yards a game, he would reach 2,000 sometime during the first half of Allatoona’s first playoff game. It would also mean that if the Buccaneers advance to the state quarterfinals — which they have done the last two seasons — Bettistea could break Forte’s county record.
For the junior tailback, that would be a bonus. In late July, I talked to him for a story that appeared in “Kickoff 2013” our high school football preview issue. Bettistea already had a number in mind as a goal for the season.
“2,139,” he said.
That number is the Allatoona rushing record, and after his 282-yard performance a week ago against Hiram, he has it squarely in his sights.
Unfortunately, for Rogers, the leading rusher in Class AAAAAA, the Spartans will not make the playoffs this year. And since Campbell is off this week, he has only one more game to add to his 1,644 yards.
Rogers will need 156 yards to reach the 1,800-yard mark, but after putting up 359 yards against Kennesaw Mountain last week, could he possibly reach 2,000 yards, too?
“I think he has a better chance of making 20 tackles than he does running for 356 yards,” Campbell coach Harris Rainbow said of Rogers’ matchup against the North Cobb defense.
Of course, if he does that, Rogers would end the season with 100 tackles to go with his yardage total. In some ways, that may be even more impressive.
COBB COUNTY’S 1,800-YARD RUSHERS SINCE 1995
Year Name, School Yards Games YPG
2012 Evan Kasian, Walker 2,080 12 173
2011 Tyren Jones, Walton 2,375 15 158
2011 Miles Jones, Allatoona 2,139 13 164
2010 Miles Jones, Allatoona 1,939 11 176
2009 Rajaan Bennett, McEachern 1,857 11 169
2008 Michael Boydston, Walton 1,859 11 169
2007 J.J. Jackson, Walton 1,841 14 132
2006 Jonathan Dwyer, Kell 1,802 10 180
2005 Jonathan Dwyer, Kell 1,898 12 158
2004 Justin Forte, Walton 2,395* 14 171
2001 Brent Thomas, Pebblebrook 1,882 11 171
2000 Brent Thomas, Pebblebrook 2,247 11 204
1998 Demone Boyd, Pebblebrook 1,882 12 157
1995 Travis Zachery, Marietta 1,820 12 152
Potentially joining the list —
2013 Michael Rogers, Campbell 1,644 9 183
2013 Josh Bettistea, Allatoona 1,512 8 189
* County rushing record
Three weeks from now, teams will be lining up for the opening round of the playoffs. Over the last few years, Cobb County has gotten into the habit of sending 11 or 12 teams into the postseason. If the season ended today, the 2013 class would include nine.
Based on the current standings on gasports.com, these are the likely first-round matchups:
No. 1 North Cobb vs. No. 4 Rockdale County. Winner would face either Colquitt County or Westlake.
No. 2 McEachern vs. No. 3 Luella. Winner would face either Camden County or Newnan.
No. 3 Hillgrove at No. 2 Alcovy. Winner would face either Langston Hughes or Valdosta.
No. 4 Marietta at No. 1 Lovejoy. Winner would face either East Coweta or Lowndes.
North Cobb can win the region tonight with a win over Marietta, but nothing else will be settled.
McEachern and Hillgrove will face each other for the No. 2 seed next week, and the Blue Devils will play Harrison for the No. 4 seed.
No. 1 Etowah vs. No. 4 Peachtree Ridge. Winner would face either Dacula or North Forsyth
No. 2 Lassiter vs. No. 3 North Gwinnett. Winner would face either Archer or Lambert
No. 3 Milton at No. 2 Collins Hill. Winner would face either Alpharetta or Grayson.
No. 4 Walton at No. 1 Norcross. Winner would face either South Forsyth or Brookwood
If Etowah and Lassiter win tonight, they will clinch the top two seeds in the region, and then they will play each other for the championship next Friday. With a win over Etowah, Walton could move into the No. 3 seed with a week to play and drop the Eagles to the No. 4 seed or worse.
Cherokee faces Milton tonight and jumps into a playoff spot with a win. The Warriors move as high as the No. 3 seed if things fall right the next two weeks.
No. 1 North Paulding vs. No. 4 Riverwood. Winner would face either Gainesville or Mays.
No. 2 South Paulding vs. No. 3 Sequoyah. Winner would face either Flowery Branch or M.L. King.
No. 3 Allatoona at No. 2 Creekview. Winner would face Tucker or Heritage-Conyers.
No. 4 East Paulding at No. 1 Kell. Winner would face Stephenson or Clarke Central.
Allatoona earns a home playoff game with a win tonight over North Paulding. If the Wolfpack win, the region is likely theirs as they play Villa Rica to close the regular season.
Pope can still work its way in here, especially if it was to upset Kell tonight.
Currently, Mount Paran Christian is ranked No. 5 in the private school power rankings. Unfortunately, the Eagles will likely not win the region title after their loss to Mount Pisgah Christian last week.
By not winning the region, Mount Paran will be placed in the playoff bracket after the region champions so it is difficult to determine its opponent.
After beating Walker last week, Whitefield Academy is No. 17 in the power rankings. The Wolverines are No. 24. The top 16 teams qualify for the playoffs.
John Bednarowski is the sports editor of the Marietta Daily Journal.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jbednarowski.