But with the Longhorns and Grizzlies both off to solid starts, each team has their eyes set on subregion and region titles this fall. Assuming both teams can weather the storm in their respective subregions, the region championship could be decided by the winner of tonight’s game.
That fact hasn’t been lost by either team, and both coaches played up the importance of tonight’s game at the Grizzly Den to their players this week.
“Head-to-head is the first tiebreaker for the region championship, and our kids are well aware of that situation,” Kell coach Derek Cook said. “We know we are the favorite on our side, and (Creekview is) definitely one of the favorites on their side.
“We have to take care of business so nothing is left to chance.”
Region coaches voted in the preseason to divide into northern and southern subregions, as opposed to playing a full region schedule of 10 games.
Region guidelines state that only subregion games will count towards subregion standings, and at season’s end, the top four teams in each subregion will cross over and go head-to-head in a Week 10 region playoff game.
With the top team from each subregion playing the fourth-place team from the opposite subregion, its likely that both No. 1 seeds could win and a tiebreaker would be needed to determine a region champ. If Kell (2-1) and Creekview (2-0) end up in that spot, the winner of tonight’s game would be crowned champion.
“We never want to assume anything, but we also know that it could be a huge factor,” said Creekview coach Al Morrell, who has led the Grizzlies to wins over county rivals Cherokee and River Ridge. “It’s going to be tough, though. Kell is well-coached and very talented. To beat a team like them, we have to play mistake-free football.”
Kell enters tonight’s game with impressive wins over Class AAAAAA’s Chattahoochee and Woodstock, but the Longhorns are reeling off a blowout loss to neighboring rival Lassiter last week.
Injuries also left Kell’s talented secondary wounded last week, with Brendan Langley and Julian Burris. The Longhorns will rely heavily on the secondary —featuring two players committed to Southeastern Conference schools in Langley (South Carolina) and former Cherokee player Quincey Mauger (Georgia) — to contain a Creekview passing game keyed by quarterback Hayden Hall, who has passed for 331 yards in two games.
“It’s a tough task to head up to Creekview’s home field in a big game like this, but we have to put the Lassiter loss behind us and move on,” Cook said. “The goal now is to go 9-1 and be region champions, and there is no shame in that.”