While Mt. Zion (0-1) lost a one-point heartbreaker, North Cobb Christian (1-1) had an interesting first game of the year. NCC was scheduled to host Southwest Atlanta Christian, but the Warriors' helmets and shoulder pads that were sent off to be conditioned were not returned in time and they had to forfeit the game. In Week 2 the Eagles out of Ackworth lost 54-14 at Walker.
MZ coach Keith Holloway expects a tough opponent who has playmakers on offense and run out of a 3-5 set on defense.
"We watched them Friday night and they have a lot of skill people — two tall receivers, they rotate two quarterbacks and they run an inverted wishbone triple option. They will throw it deep so we have to play disciplined football, assignment football and make sure we tackle all three possible ball carries," Holloway said.
One focus for Mt. Zion this week in practice has been learning to pick up the defensive stunts that NCC will try to utilize.
"They stunt a lot and we've got to get better on picking up stunts so that's what we're going to concentrate a lot this week on offense. Hopefully we'll play with the same intensity we did against Ranburne (Ala.) and if we do that we'll have a chance," Holloway said.
There were definite positives to take away from the Week 1, 7-6 loss against Ranburne as the coaching staff was able to see what worked on offense and what needs to be worked on. Nathan Bernhardt, T.K. Tuggle, Matt Turner and others proved they could be successful running the ball, now they have to work on airing it out from time to time.
"We probably need to throw the ball a little big more. I thought, at times, we ran the ball well and at times we blocked well. We just have to be more consistent. We had a couple of pretty good drives that stalled out because of penalties and that's going to happen, but we're a ball control offense. We can't afford to be third and long," Holloway said.
Mt. Zion is still a little beat up with players who suffered injuries in the season opener and Garrett Frazier who was injured during the scrimmage game. Not everyone is 100 percent healthy yet, but Holloway expects to have some of them back before Friday.
While the season opener didn't quite end the way the coaches and players would have liked — with a win — it did give MZ a push heading into their off week and second game of the season.
"I think the kids, obviously we wanted to win and we're not about moral victories, but as a coaching staff we were very proud of our fight. We never gave up, fought until the end and had a chance to win it at the end. That's all you can ask of them. Hopefully we got some momentum from that and we had a pretty good off week," Holloway said.
MZ will get a chance to put their work on display as the pair of Eagles meet up for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff Friday night.