But a quick turnaround in Region 7AAAAA (A) play has the Grizzlies (6-2, 4-0) in line to claim the subregion title Friday night when they host North Springs (1-7, 0-4).
In fact, if it weren’t for the team’s 32-7 loss to powerhouse Kell in Week 3, a region title might have been in the cards. Nonetheless, Creekview is happy to be where it is.
Having already assured themselves of the subregion’s No. 1 seed — win or loss Friday against North Springs — the Grizzlies will host the No. 4 seed from the region’s southern half next week. That opponent will come from the winner of Friday’s game between Osborne and Sprayberry, two Cobb County teams that are winless in subregion play.
The winner of the four 1-vs.-4 and 2-vs.-3 region play-in games will advance to the state playoffs. A loss would bring an end to the season, regardless of the previous success a team has had.
That nearly happened to Creekview last year. As the No. 1 seed from its subregion, the Grizzlies were taken to triple overtime before beating Riverwood in the play-in game.
“Being able to play the No. 4 team certainly is an advantage because the other side has some pretty good teams there at 2 and 3,” Crowder said.
Aside from a 54-13 win over Osborne on Sept. 27, Creekview has allowed its competition to keep the game close. In their other five wins this year, including a one-point win over non-region opponent River Ridge, the Grizzlies have won by an average margin of 3.6 points.
“I think that we kind of play down to our competition a little bit, but I feel good that our kids know that we can come back and win games,” Crowder said.
Playing down could be a fear this week against a North Springs team that gave Sequoyah a challenge earlier this month. But aside from what ended up being a 36-27 loss to the Chiefs, and a 35-34 victory over Hapeville Charter, the Spartans have lost every other game by double-digit margins.
“We still have to be ready to go out and play,” Crowder said.
Crowder feels good things are still coming to his players. As a first-year coach, he has yet to install his full package on either offense or defense.
“We still don’t even have all our offense in, or all our defense in,” Crowder said. “We are just going a little bit at a time, a little bit at a time. For this team to accomplish what it did with a sophomore quarterback, who has a chance to break the school record this week for passing in a single season, is just pretty gratifying.”
Kyle Wilkie has proven himself so able as a quarterback that Crowder said it’s hard to continue to look at him in that light. After starting eight games, he is looking more like a junior.
“That is exciting right there,” Crowder said. “It’s our ninth ballgame, so we figure (Wilkie) is more like a junior now with all the experience. But it’s certainly exciting knowing that we will have two more years.”