King’s Ridge Christian (4-5) at Christian Heritage (5-4)
A win might not secure a spot in the state playoffs, but a loss certainly will not.
The only thing the Lions can do is win and hope for the best elsewhere as they aim to finish in the top 16 of the GHSA’s Class A private school power rankings.
Christian Heritage coach Preston Poag simply said, “I like the chances if we win; I really do,” and summed up what needs to happen around the region for the Lions to have a shot at playing past today.
“We just need Darlington to win (against Mt. Pisgah Christian) and Trion to win (against Whitefield Academy),” he said. “Mt. Pisgah and Whitefield Academy, those two are ahead of us.”
Christian Heritage is 18th with a 10.13 rating. Our Lady of Mercy (17th; 10.42), Whitefield Academy (16th; 10.46) and Mt. Pisgah Christian (15th; 10.59) are ahead of the Lions. But Poag had a message for his team early this week as the Lions prepared for their next — and possibly last — foe.
“I told them, ‘We just have to worry about (winning). That will take care of itself if we win,’” Poag said. “You can’t get too concerned about that. I’m just looking for us to play the best game of the year.”
King’s Ridge Christian, an Alpharetta school, finished fifth in Sub-region 6B-A after losing five of past last six games.
“They’re sort of like our offense,” Poag said. “They are balanced and do a little bit of both. They play three different quarterbacks. They each do something different. One throws the ball better and the others do more running.”
Going against so many looks could cause the Lions problems, especially with only a week to prepare.
“The biggest thing in high school is you have a limited amount of time you practice,” Poag said. “A lot of different sets and formations, it takes a while (to prepare) for that.”
King’s Ridge Christian coach Jeff Pickren is leading the program in its third season in the GHSA. The Patriots, who have an 8.54 power rating and are ranked 22nd, are all but eliminated from playoff contention, Pickren said, but still want to win and finish at .500 for the year.
“As far as power ratings go, I think we’re pretty much out of it,” he said. “Mathematically, I don’t see us getting into the playoffs.
“We better be ready or Christian Heritage will run us off the field.”
Pickren agreed with Poag about their offensive similarities. Both teams use the I formation a lot, although the Patriots aren’t as balanced as the Lions, who have tallied 1,504 yards through the air and 1,341 on the ground this season.
“I think they throw the ball more than us,” Pickren said. “I think it’s going to be a very good football game. I just wish both teams had more games to play for.”