Creekview edged River Ridge 20-19 two weeks ago, giving coach Terry Crowder his first victory at the helm and preventing the 0-2 start.
Since then, the Grizzlies’ focus has been on figuring out a way to get win No. 2.
“We just had to get that first win,” Crowder said. “We didn’t play as well as we wanted to, but we got better. That’s what you try to do. You want to get better every week, and we played better than we did the first week.
“We want to continue that. We worked on fundamentals last week, and this week, our focus is on Kell.”
Crowder and members of his coaching staff scouted Kell (3-0) last week in its game against Lassiter. The Longhorns gradually pulled away, turning a 6-3 first-quarter lead into a 20-10 halftime margin and 28-10 advantage entering the fourth quarter. Kell went on to win 35-20.
“Lassiter runs basically the same offense as us,” Crowder said. “Watching the game and seeing what (Kell does) on film gives us an idea on how they’ll play us.
“Kell has some great players, and I’ve known (Kell) coach (Derek) Cook a long time. He knows what he’s doing. We’re going to have to respect their team speed and we’ll have to contain their guys and keep them from breaking big plays.”
Lassiter had some success running the ball against Kell, totaling 110 yards on the ground. Crowder hopes Creekview can achieve even better success in that phase of the game, which would give his defense some rest and keep the Longhorns’ offense on the sidelines.
“We have to figure out how to run the ball,” Crowder said. “We want to keep that offense off the field. It will be important for us to execute. That’s what we’ll need to do. It’s been a problem for us before in our first two games. Hopefully, the bye week has helped correct some of those issues.”
Kell’s victory over Lassiter was especially exciting for the Longhorns, who dropped a 42-13 decision to the Trojans last year. Following the win, Cook and his staff quickly turned their attention to Creekview, which the Longhorns beat by a narrow 33-29 margin a season ago.
“Having the bye week is definitely an advantage for (Creekview),” Cook said. “They have two weeks to get well and take care of any injuries and nicks and bumps, and they have all of that time to only prepare for us.
“That was a very physical game for us against Lassiter last Friday. It would have been nice to have two weeks to prepare, too, but the schedule didn’t work out that way.”
Crowder also has previous experience coaching against Kell. Last year, when we was in the same position at Chattahoochee, he faced the Longhorns in the season-opening Corky Kell Classic at the Georgia Dome, dropping a 19-8 decision.
Crowder is three years removed from leading Chattahoochee to a 15-0 record and state championship.
“Coach Crowder has been successful everywhere he’s been,” Cook said. “Creekview was already a challenging opponent for us this week. Now, he’s had two weeks to prepare for us, which makes them even more challenging.”
Creekview will be a tough test for Kell, but so have the Longhorns’ previous three opponents, all of whom were Class AAAAAA teams.
“Our first three games prepared us for our region schedule,” Cook said. “It gave the guys experience, and to get to 3-0 is nice. This week, though, we look at this as a region game. We’re 0-0 in the region and we don’t want to lose.”