Dalton (1-2) at Cass (2-2)
Cass handed the Catamounts a 35-7 beating last season in Dalton, but Cats coach Matt Land thinks this year’s Colonels could be even better.
Dalton heads to Cartersville with chance to improve to 2-2 before sub-region play begins next week.
Last season’s loss to Cass at Harmon Field was the Cats’ worst margin of defeat since a 51-13 loss to Statesboro in the 2001 Class 4A state championship game. Catamounts linebacker Lyle Durham summed up the rout.
“It was embarrassing, especially being on Harmon Field and all,” he said. “We’re going to have to work hard this week.”
However, Brandon Etheridge, Cass’ quarterback last season, was one of seven people arrested this summer in Bartow County when the Bartow-Cartersville Drug Task Force seized roughly 7 ounces of the illegal narcotic “molly,” according to a report from The Daily Tribune-News.
This season, Cass is relying on freshman Trevor Lowe at quarterback.
“That team is a completely different team than last year,” Land said. “It was Brandon Etheridge and that’s all it had to be. This year the pressure is not on the quarterback to score the points. It’s distributed across five or six people. To me, I see a potentially more dangerous team because you only had one guy to worry about and everything hinged on him.”
Dalton lost its first two games this season but didn’t have star running back Kelvis Rhodes for either one. Rhodes returned last week and scored four touchdowns in a 31-0 rout of Gilmer.
Chattooga (0-4, 0-1) at Murray County (1-3, 0-1)
Victories have been so rare the past few years at Murray County, it’s little surprise that they have also rarely come early in the season.
With a triumph tonight, Murray County can put two in the win column for the first time in eight years before the calendar turns to October.
In 2005, under former longtime coach Bill Napier, Murray County was 3-3 by October — the season kicked off on Aug. 19 that year — on its way to a 7-4 finish. It was the last season Murray County finished with a wining record and the last time the program reached the state playoffs, losing at Rockdale County in the opening round of the Class 4A bracket.
To jump into two-win territory tonight, first-year coach Chad Brewer’s team will have to execute its own offense and limit big plays, two things that have eluded Murray County so far this season. Murray County broke a long losing streak when it won 14-12 at Gordon Central on Sept. 13, but that is contrasted with defeats at the hands of Coahulla Creek, 35-9, Christian Heritage, 51-0, and Armuchee, 41-0.
The latter was winless when it rolled in the Region 7-2A opener for both teams last week at Murray Field. Murray County gets another chance at a region win tonight, and it would be the team’s first league victory since 2010.
“We can’t give up big plays,” Brewer said. “We have got to make people drive the football. We’ve been giving up way too many of those (plays of 20 or more yards). But our players are still working hard. I haven’t seen any less fight in any of my players. We’ve got guys improving each game, so I’m very pleased with that.”
Murray County will look to limit the arm and legs of Chattooga freshman quarterback Isaac Foster. In a 15-7 loss to Model last week, he completed 6 of 11 passes — one for a touchdown — for 50 yards, while also rushing for 64 yards on 19 carries.
Chattooga’s losses have come to teams with a combined record of 11-4.