Game: Etowah (0-3) at North Cobb (3-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last year: North Cobb 42, Etowah 10
All-time series: North Cobb leads 11-5
Prediction: North Cobb 24, Etowah 3
North Cobb is not quite where it wants to be, even though it has a 3-0 record.
Its defense made big plays down the stretch to help seal a 21-13 win over Alpharetta, highlighted by two second-half interceptions by Joshua Joseph, the team as a whole was not without its miscues. There were blown assignments, a couple of turnovers and too many penalties.
So the Warriors used their bye week to go back to the fundamentals and will host Etowah tonight in a non-region game.
“I was pleased with the way we came out and practiced hard,” North Cobb coach Shane Queen said. “We didn’t play to our full potential (two weeks ago), and they focused with great effort, and we will be prepared for Etowah (tonight).”
Quarterback Malachi Singleton has gotten off to a fast start. He has 313 yards and six rushing touchdowns to go with 467 yards passing and another touchdown. His offensive line has matured this season, even with three sophomores in the starting lineup.
On special teams, kicker Ben Moran is a potential Division I player who has kicked off 13 to 15 balls into the end zone, giving the defense long fields to work with.
“It’s always been a physical game (against Etowah), and we’ve played them the last four years,” Queen said. “We have to match their physicality. They run with power so we will have to match them physically up front.”
First-year coach Matt Kemper is known for having size and physicality on his rosters during his stints at Pope, Johns Creek and Roswell, but the Eagles are in a rebuilding phase this season.
The Eagles were hit hard to graduation on the offensive side of the ball. Their skill players are inexperienced and the offensive line are mostly seniors who have not played varsity until this season.
Defensively, the Eagles have held their own with linebacker Lane Cantrell leading the way. They were solid last week against North Forsyth having given up just 14 points.
Meanwhile, they are looking to score points as the season progresses as they are averaging a touchdown a game.
“We just have to get a little better,” Kemper said. “We’ve made huge improvements from the second game to the third game. Unfortunately, we’re playing the No. 9 team in the state. North Cobb is a state powerhouse. Coach Queen has built that thing to just that.”