Both teams are No. 1 seeds in their respective regions — Kell in 7AAAAA and Warner Robins in 2AAAAA — but the Longhorns earned the right to host the game after winning a coin flip.
A win would assure the Longhorns of their next milestone, putting them in the semifinals for the first time.
However, milestones are the last thing that Kell coach Derek Cook is thinking about, with the focus of he and his team placed solely on winning tonight’s contest.
“It would be a monumental achievement, but we’re just looking at it in kind of a different way as being 1-0 this week,” Cook said. “Whatever happens as a result of that is kind of a side note. We can’t worry about what happens next if we don’t take care of what happens now and that’s really our focus. At the end of the season, we’ll look back at what accomplishments we have achieved and hopefully, they’ll be significant.”
The Longhorns face a Warner Robins team that Cook has said is a mirror image of his own team in many ways.
“They look a lot like us in terms of how they play,” Cook said. “They play hard and fast, they’re a physical team offensively, they have a solid defense. There’s not a lot of blown assignments (on defense) — they take advantage of the opportunity that the opposing offense presents to them. They’re an opportunistic defense in that they have a lot of turnovers.
“They’re a well-coached team. They have a great kicker — he punts and kicks and does a great job. So they’re a solid, fundamentally-sound football team, and they are pretty disciplined as well. I like to think that we’re cut from that same cloth and that’s how we look at it.
“Offensively, there’s not one guy you can look at and go, ‘That’s the one guy you have to stop right there if you want to win.’ They have three guys, kind of like us, that do well and, of course, their offensive line is solid. It’s the same thing on defense. You look at their defense and say, ‘There’s not one standout defensive guy.’ So, when I say they remind me of us, that’s kind of what I mean.”
Kell will be boosted by the return of quarterback Matthew McGuigan, who has missed the last three games with an ankle injury.
Cameron Rosendahl will again start, but McGuigan — who returned to practice last week — might get some playing time.
“(McGuigan is) out of the boot and he’s been practicing and he’s definitely better,” Cook said. “He started practicing last week, but we wanted to wait and make sure his ankle was 100 percent. So, it will be great to have the both of those guys available to us (today).”
Game: Warner Robins (11-1) at Kell (12-0), 7:30 p.m.
Last meeting: First meeting
All-time series: First meeting
Prediction: Kell 24, Warner Robins 17