First-year Eagle coach Keith Holloway said the Wolverines (3-0) will provide the toughest test of the season to date, led by senior all-state running back Evan Kasian.
“They’re 3-0, averaging 47 points a game and giving up just 11 points a game. They’re a senior-oriented football team. They’ve got 18 seniors and they all play,” Holloway said. “They’ll have one of the best defensive linemen that we’ve seen all year and one of the best running backs in our region. So we’ve got our hands full.”
Kasian has gotten off to an early-season tear, racking up 565 yards and nine touchdowns on just 39 carries thus far — good for a 14.5-yard-per-carry average. He finished with 138 yards and a touchdown in the 30-14 win over Temple in the season opener, then had a monster night in the Wolverines’ 54-14 thumping of North Cobb Christian — rushing for 277 yards and four touchdowns on 14 carries — and continued his strong start by picking up 150 yards and four scores on just eight carries in one half of work during last week’s 56-6 win against Southwest Atlanta Christian.
Kasian has thrived under first-year Wolverine coach John East’s new offensive scheme — Walker moved to a Pro-I attack — and Walker has been getting notice around the state, as well. The Wolverines received votes in this week’s Class A AP Top-10 Poll, sitting at No. 14 in the state. At 3-0, Walker has tied its best start in program history.
“They’re more run-oriented than last year. Last year they were in the spread throwing the ball a lot. They do throw it still, but they’re hanging their hat on the running game it looks like,” Holloway said. “They run an eight-man front on defense and they show you a lot of different looks. They stunt a good bit. We’ll have to have our ‘A’ game to compete with them.”
Walker holds a 5-2 edge in the all-time series, including a 35-14 win last year, which marked its fifth straight win over the Eagles.
Mt. Zion (1-1) has shown that it is also a much-improved ball club this year, coming up just short in its season opener against Ranburne (Ala.) — a 7-6 setback — before ending its 21-game losing streak this past Friday night in a 46-13 triumph over North Cobb Christian.
Holloway said spirits and energy are high right now, and he’s seen it carry over into practice this week.
“We’ve had a good week of practice so far. The weather caught us [Monday] in the middle of practice, but hopefully we can get out the rest of the week and get some work done. The kids are bouncing around and are kind of excited. They’re looking to make it two in a row, hopefully. But like I said, it’s going to be a big challenge,” Holloway said.
And with sub-region play beginning next week for both teams — the Eagles travel to Christian Heritage, while the Wolverines host Mt. Pisgah — Holloway said Friday night will be a big measuring stick to gauge just how far his team has come in a year’s time.
“Right now, we’ve pretty much got everybody healthy. We’ve got a few with some banged up ankles, but Garrett Frazier has been cleared to play. So that will be a big help at linebacker. We’re looking forward to going up there and having a good showing,” Holloway said.