Matt Kemper will face his former program Friday as Etowah hosts Roswell to open Region 5AAAAAAA play.
Kemper came to Etowah during the offseason after serving three years as the coach at Roswell. Now entering region play with his new program, an upset of one of the region favorites would be the perfect way for him to get his first win at Etowah.
“Obviously, I coached a lot of those kids, and with that, you know things they do well, things they don’t,” Kemper said. “You develop relationships with kids, but, at the same time, we’re going to do everything we can to win the game.”
Etowah lost 28-10 at North Cobb two weeks ago and will enter this week off a bye. Running back Klivert Many finished with 123 yards and a touchdown against the Warriors and enters this week sixth among Cherokee County’s rushing leaders.
Establishing a run game and possessing the ball will likely be key against a Roswell team leading the region with 36 points per game.
Etowah took no easy paths to start the season as its first four opponents have a combined record of 15-2. That level of competition could bode well for the Eagles as they begin the second half of their schedule facing another state-ranked opponent.
“Without an offseason and spring ball, it’s taken us a few weeks to find our identity,” Kemper said. “I thought we made a lot of improvement against North Cobb and, hopefully, we’re a better team this week than we were last week.”
Roswell is coming off a 23-17 overtime win against Walton. The Hornets have been led by quarterback Robbie Roper, a Woodstock transfer who threw the game-winning touchdown last week. Roper has completed 61% of his passes for 927 yards, 10 touchdowns and two interceptions.
The primary target for Roper has been Marquis Willis (21 receptions, 401 yards), but the Hornets have also been balanced offensively, averaging 214 rushing yards per game. Ryan Hill and Ryan Stephens have combined for 567 rushing yards with seven scores.
Defensively, safety Dillon Holifield is third on the team in tackles and holds multiple Ivy League offers. Linebacker Case Barrett leads the team in tackles (42), while cornerback Ethan Nation is enjoying a breakout season with five interceptions.