Last year, Creekview went to Etowah and defeated the Eagles 14-13.
This year, the Grizzlies are at home for the season opener, with the expectation of another hard-fought contest.
Creekview finished last year with a 7-4 overall record and a 5-2 mark in Region 7AAAAAA. Etowah went 1-9 overall with a 1-4 record in Region 5AAAAAAA, but the Eagles played above their eventual record with their 2020 clash with the Grizzlies.
“Any time coach (Matt) Kemper is coaching a team, it is going to be super physical,” Creekview coach Trevor Williams said. “They are going to be well-coached. They are going to play really hard.”
Senior quarterback Braden Bohannon, the son of Kennesaw State coach Brian Bohannon, made the transition from wide receiver to signal-caller last season, and Kemper has high hopes for his converted receiver’s playmaking abilities. Etowah’s defensive line also projects to be a factor Friday.
“Offensively, we will go as Braden Bohannon does,” Kemper said. “He is our whole engine on the offense.
Kemper said seniors Jaiden Maddox and Ryan Lee will be factors on defense. Maddox is looking to build on a solid 2020, while Lee is ready to get back on the field after not playing because of COVID-19 last year.
Creekview put an emphasis on taking care of the football while doing the basic things like winning the battles at the line of scrimmage.
As preseason practices came to a close, Williams said he was happy with what the team had shown him. He praised the attitude and effort of his group throughout the summer.
“They are going to work every day trying to get better,” Williams said. “We are still learning a little bit about who we are and what our identity is going to be. We got through the scrimmage and learned a bunch, made some mistakes that we have to clean up, but I am excited about where we are at and excited about where we are going.”
One of the major factors in determining the outcome of this game will be Creekview’s Tyler Stevens. The senior running back finished third in Cherokee County in rushing with 886 yards and nine touchdowns on 192 carries.
Kemper’s focus on defense will undoubtedly include slowing the Grizzlies’ ground game and containing Stevens.
“They have some really good players and are well-coached,” Kemper said. “That running back (Stevens) is a really good high school football player. He has some FCS offers, and they can do a lot of different things with him. He is a very versatile kid.”