Coahulla Creek (2-6, 1-4)
at North Murray (2-6, 1-4)
Two teams with identical records — overall and in region play — have different things to play for.
The Mountaineers have a beating heart in the chase for the Region 5-3A’s fourth seed in the Class 3A state playoffs.
Needing a lot more outside help — including winless Gordon Central beating Adairsville this week — the Colts are trying to get a third win, which would be one better than their win total from last season, when they played a varsity schedule for the first time.
“There are a lot of things that show improvement,” Coahulla Creek coach Jared Hamlin said. “Wins and losses are part of it, but I think we’ve shown improvement just by some of the things we’ve done, especially defensively this year.”
The Colts need defensive progress to be evident against a high-scoring Mountaineers team that scored 63 points last week against Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe.
“I guess we finally got all 11 guys clicking together,” Mountaineers coach David Gann said. “We didn’t make the stupid penalties and didn’t have the turnovers.”
North Murray used an option-heavy game plan last week as sophomore running back Drake McCowan scored five touchdowns.
“It’s hard at any level against the option,” Hamlin said, “but it’s tough in high school because you have mind lapses. Our players have to be very focused with each’s defensive assignments.”
Offense hasn’t been a problem at North Murray, but the defense is allowing 36 points per game. They won last week despite allowing 43 points, which is only the third-most allowed this season by the Mountaineers, who gave up 55 points to Ringgold and 63 points to Cartersville.
“On defense, we were kind of the opposite,” Gann said. “We have seven or eight guys doing what they were supposed to do and three or four not doing their job or not making the tackle.”
The Mountaineers must win tonight and beat winless Gordon Central next week to close the regular season to keep their playoff hopes alive, but they also need other things to fall into place. They must finish in a three-way tie for fourth place in the region standings with LFO and Sonoraville, which requires both of those teams to lose tonight and the former to beat the latter in the final week of the season.
Region 5-3A secretary Ed Vosburgh of Cartersville High School said the league follows the GHSA’s Constitution and By-Laws’ procedures for tiebreakers. That would leave LFO, North Murray and Sonoraville playing mini-games to determine who gets the region’s remaining spot in the state playoffs.