Northwest Whitfield (4-0) at Heritage-Catoosa (0-4)
Heritage’s closest game this season was a 27-21 loss at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe on Sept. 6. In the other three games, the Generals have allowed 42 or more points and scored a combined 21, although they were shut out last week by Pickens.
The Generals’ frustration stretches further back than that, though, after a winless 2012 in which they were shut out three times.
But Northwest coach Josh Robinson — who has the program off to a 4-0 start for the first time since 2007 — doesn’t want his team to hear any talk about how the Bruins should roll in their sub-region opener.
“In this sub-region, you aren’t going to be able to walk over any of the teams,” he said. “A lot of people will say we should beat this team, but we aren’t saying that. People lose games they aren’t supposed to lose all the time. You don’t want to be on the wrong end of that.”
Robinson said the challenge for his coaching staff is to keep their players focused on the overall picture and not taking a single win for granted.
“You talk about the long-term goals and that should focus them,” Robinson said. “‘Was our goal to win four games, or did you want to win a region title?’ An undefeated season and a region title are still goals that are in reach
“Northwest has never been 10-0 and the school has only one region title. Those are goals that can keep them focused. You can’t get to 10-0 unless you are 5-0. Our job is to keep them focused on the big picture.”
Defensive lineman Cameron Atkins is expected return for the Bruins after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in the opening game of the year. Rather than have surgery, Atkins will play the rest of the year with a leg brace, but he should make his return tonight.
He joins a group that has been making plenty of big plays, with one of the more notable names senior defensive back Tevin McDaniel. He has 18 tackles but has been more noticeable for his turnover creation — he has four interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
“Overall, we are pretty healthy for it to be almost to the midpoint of the season,” Robinson said. “The injuries that we have sustained have been very serious for the team and the individual kids, but we have had some kids step up when they have had to fill someone’s shoes.”