Both teams will attempt to get their offenses in gear Friday when the Cardinals (2-2) face off against the Grizzlies (1-2) in a Region 7AAAAA crossover at the Grizzly Den.
“Kell’s a good team every night,” Creekview coach Terry Crowder said. “We played with them for the first quarter and only trailed 8-0 in the second, but then the dam burst. They are a quick team with guys who can make plays and they’re physical. They played well against us.
“But I’m proud of my kids. They fought hard, too. There was no lack of effort on my kids’ part. They didn’t give up.”
Creekview’s point tally was a far cry from its first two games. The Grizzlies scored 34 in a loss to Cherokee, then 20 in a victory against River Ridge.
Crowder wants to see more production out of the offense and defense against Osborne.
“We need to shore up our mental lapses,” Crowder said. “We need to be more consistent in our execution on offense and on defense.”
Osborne’s struggles to find the end zone continued last week with its win over Cambridge, and coach Xarvia Smith doesn’t want to see his new spread offense get into a habit of struggling to score.
“We continue to have a problem scoring in the red zone,” Smith said. “We were inside (Cambridge’s) 10-yard line five times and only scored three points. That can’t happen if you want to consistently win ballgames.
“We have to work on that. That’s been our problem all year. We move the ball well down field, but when we get close to the goal line, we’re having problems punching it in.”
Smith said he changed up his approach in practice somewhat to help better prepare his players for those situations, should they encounter them at Creekview.
“I think we’re going to go more live in the red-zone area in practice this week, putting our best against our best,” he said. “We need better preparation in that area, so, hopefully, this will help. Maybe work on trying to get the ball on the edge and tweaking our personnel. We just have to have more production from our offense near the goal line.”
Osborne had similar scoring problems last year in a 31-0 loss to Creekview, but the Cardinals aren’t looking for revenge.
“Last year is last year,” Smith said. “These are totally different teams with different personnel and different styles.”
Though Crowder is in his first year at Creekview, he’s no stranger to Smith. The two men coached against one another in 2005 and ’06, when Crowder was at Chattahoochee and Smith at Centennial.
“He beat me once and I beat him once. Hopefully, I can that second win over him,” Smith quipped. “Our team is making strides this week, and we’ll see how it works out on Friday.”
Crowder’s Grizzlies hope to be ready.
“Osborne is a very good team,” he said. “They have an impressive quarterback, and their defense shut out Cambridge. I coached against coach Smith when he was at Centennial, so I know he’ll have his team prepared Friday.”