Etowah was within one score of knocking off a top-10 team last week and will have another opportunity to pull off an upset Friday.
Etowah (0-5, 0-1) will travel to Milton (4-1, 1-0) as Region 5AAAAAAA play continues. Milton won 35-20 at Alpharetta last Friday, while Etowah fell 21-14 at home to Roswell.
Despite the winless record, the Eagles seem to be finding their identity on both sides of the ball.
“I told the kids last week, we didn’t lose that game last week. We just ran out of time,” Etowah coach Matt Kemper said. “We felt like we did some good things and, obviously, ran the ball well. We’re close. We just haven’t been able to break through.”
Last week was the first week that the same five offensive linemen had started back-to-back games for Etowah, and the results were evident as running back Klivert Many finished with a season-high 185 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
On the season, Many sits third in Cherokee County with 458 rushing yards, along with four rushing scores.
Establishing a ground attack will be important against a Milton team with a formidable defensive line.
Milton defensive end Lebbeus Overton holds offers from Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Florida and LSU among others. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Overton leads Milton in sacks (6) and tackles for loss (14.5), and he is second in tackles (34).
Beyond Overton, Milton has Division I talent sprinkled throughout its roster. Tight end Jack Nickel (6-4, 230) recently committed to Notre Dame, while running back Jordan McDonald (6-0, 215) holds offers from LSU, Tennessee and South Carolina, among others. Offensive tackle Cameron Dye holds offers from Baylor, Coastal Carolina and South Florida, among others.
Etowah’s defense forced five turnovers against Roswell and has several players who have played well so far this season.
Linebacker Lane Cantrell is third in Cherokee County in tackles (56), while Austin Skinner has also been a key piece at the linebacker position. Cornerback Trevor Fair has impressed Kemper in the defensive backfield.
“Lane and Skinner are just consistent and really good players, and I told Fair on Monday that he made himself a recruiting tape last Friday against Roswell,” Kemper said.
Etowah’s opponents up to this point are a combined 23-3, and the schedule will get no easier this week. Milton will likely be one of the best teams the Eagles will face.
“You want to have some success because these are good kids and they work hard every week,” Kemper said. “Our kids have a lot of pride in what they do.”