As word trickled throughout Warren P. Sewell Field in Bowdon late Friday evening that Kendrick had upset Bremen, 12-8, a collective, ‘Whoa’ dispersed through the crowd. Of course, Red Devil fans certainly didn’t lose any sleep over Bremen slipping on homecoming, which came exactly one week after Bowdon fell to Manchester on its homecoming.
Red Devil coach Dwight Hochstetler was one of many folks caught off guard upon hearing the news following his team’s 49-27 region triumph over Jordan.
“Man, that’s a shock. I would have lost the house on that game. But if you don’t show up to play, anything can happen. Maybe that will show our kids what can happen,” Hochstetler said of the Blue Devils’ four-point setback.
Likewise, Heard County coach Tim Barron said it shows that anything can happen on any given Friday in region play. He was actually quite concerned about his own team being a potential victim in traveling to Chattahoochee County — the team’s longest road trip of the year — after not having school on Friday.
And even though the No. 9 Braves (5-0, 3-0 Region 5-AA) prevailed in the 40-14 win in Cusseta, it wasn’t exactly the showing the Heard coach was seeking offensively.
“We didn’t execute near as well as we have. I know that sounds crazy when we win 40-14, but it was just off big plays. It wasn’t on what we were doing well — the execution and those things. But we’re happy to get out of there with a win. We didn’t have school Friday and then we had the long drive and we had our pre-game meal at a different place. So it was kind of a different atmosphere for the kids. But I’m pleased to get out of there with a win,” Barron said.
Heard County is also out of school Monday and Tuesday leading up to a first-place showdown with Manchester (4-1, 3-0) on Friday at Staples Stadium.
“I got to see them on film [Saturday]. They’re very athletic on defense. We’ve played Manchester for years and we’ve never had a Manchester game where when we leave, we ain’t sore, we ain’t beat up and we ain’t tired. It’s always a very physical matchup,” Barron said.
With the Braves and Manchester both at 3-0, Bowdon (5-1, 3-1) and Spencer (2-3, 2-1) are the two one-loss teams, while Bremen (3-3, 2-2) falls into a tie with Kendrick (2-4, 2-2) as two-loss ball clubs. Temple (1-5, 1-3), which fell to Manchester, 41-0, on Friday is on the outside looking in right now for the playoff picture.
As for Bremen, Blue Devil coach Ricky Tolleson was obviously not happy with his team’s showing against the Cherokees, noting that it did a lot of things that go against the Bremen standard of strong fundamentals.
The offense fumbled a snap on a third down play, lost a fumble and had interceptions at the end of each half. They also converted just eight first downs and were forced to punt six times.
“To win a ball game like that, that’s 8-6, you’ve got to make the plays … Our kids are pretty down. They’re upset. We just have to come back,” Tolleson said.
Hochstetler noted how Friday night was another example that you can’t look past anybody down the stretch of the season, something that will certainly be addressed again this week as the Red Devils prepare to host Temple on Friday.
“You know, we’ve got Temple next week and we know if we’re not ready to play, they can do some good things on offense and defense. We’ve got Spencer two weeks from now and they beat [Jordan] big-time and then we’ve got Bremen. So the road don’t get any easier,” Hochstetler said.
Trojans Gearing Up
When Carrollton coach Rayvan Teague put together his non-region schedule, he knew his Trojans might take their lumps early. But when it came down to the games that mattered, he wanted them ready.
No. 5 Carrollton (3-2, 2-0 Region 5-AAAA) finished 1-2 through three non-region games — dropping a heartbreaker to Oxford (Ala.) and losing to the defending Class AA state champions at Calhoun — but it has been a different story in region play.
Following a 66-0 win against Columbus in the opener, the Trojans went down to Fayette County on Friday night and picked up a 44-13 victory. The region schedule will get progressively harder, and Teague hopes his team is getting better each week to step up to the level of competition.
“The bottom line is the competition gets a little bit better and a little bit better. Fayette County was a lot better than, say, Columbus was and made us work a little more on offense. We had to put drives together. Troup will be even bigger, stronger and more physical than Fayette County. We just have to continue to ratchet it up week-by-week and prepare for what is going to be a very physical region,” Teague said.
Troup (1-4, 1-1) comes to Grisham Stadium next Friday for the first of three straight home games before the Trojans finish out the 2012 regular season with a pair of road trips.
For two seasons, Mt. Zion didn’t have a whole lot to cheer about on Friday nights. That has since changed this fall.
The Eagles (2-3, 1-1 Region 6A-A) picked up their second victory of 2012 and are in the region win column for the first time since 2009 with a 55-0 road rout at Southwest Atlanta Christian on Friday night.
Seven different MZ rushers reached the end zone and totaled 458 total offense yards in the team’s most impressive offensive performance since a 56-41 decision over Heard County in 2001.
“First of all, it was a big win because it was a region game and something we really needed. It gives us some momentum going into next week’s game with Trion. I was proud of the kids, coaches had a good plan, kids took care of business early and we got to play everybody in the second half. It was a good night for Mt. Zion football,” MZ coach Keith Holloway said.
Following a three-game road swing, the Eagles return home next week to face the Bulldogs (4-1, 0-1).
Cats Claw Back
After collecting a much-needed 50-35 road victory at Woodland, Cartersville on Friday night, Villa Rica has a chance to get even at 3-3 next week when winless Lithia Springs (0-5, 0-5 Region 5-AAAAA) comes to Sam McIntyre Field. And while the Lions don’t own a win yet this year, VR coach Mike Falleur understands they’ll come in hungry after suffering back-to-back, three-point losses to Hiram and Paulding County.
Still, the Cat coach felt Friday night’s win was critical for his squad in gaining some positive momentum before coming back home to host the Lions.
“Yeah, we needed a win. We played really well and hadn’t won some games that maybe we should have, but this one we were able to pull out. So it was a good win for us,” Falleur said.
There wasn’t much to be said after Haralson County dropped its second region game it felt it could win this year.
The season opened with the Rebels (3-3, 1-2 Region 4-AAA) giving up a 20-0 lead against Central in the West Georgia Football Classic and then last night’s 28-20 loss at B.E.S.T. Academy saw HC score all 20 of its points in the first half before the Eagles rallied back in the final 24 minutes.
“Had a few injuries and had a hard time tackling and penalties — a lot of penalties. We just made a lot of mistakes. I’m not taking anything away from the other team. They played hard, but we had a lot of mistakes,” HC coach Alan Lane said.
The second-year Rebel coach has already talked about every game being a must-win now, and that becomes even more apparent next week when HC hosts Rockmart.