Last season’s success didn’t leave the Arabia Mountain football team feeling satisfied and at ease. If anything, winning the school’s first region championship has helped motivate the Rams to push toward the next level.
“It’s our senior leadership,” said Arabia Mountain coach Stanley Pritchett. “They’ve led the way and the kids have worked hard the whole off-season and really put in the work over the summer and it’s paying off.”
The Rams have 15 seniors on this year’s team, most of them who have been with the program since they were in the ninth grade.
Arabia Mountain went 9-3 last season and won the Region 5-AAAAA championship. The nine victories were two more than the previous best season of 7-3 in 2013.
Things have started off well for the Rams (2-0) this season. They’ve won the first two games by a combined score of 89-7.
“It’s been a total team effort,” Pritchett said. “The defense has only allowed one score and the offense has been scoring points. Things are clicking. We’re just trying to get better each week. We want to be 1-0 each week. That’s been our mantra for the whole season.”
At the forefront on defense has been linemen Demetric Barnes and Amir Graham. Offensive linemen Aaron Pryon, Joshua Dempsey and Khalil Miller have made life better for quarterback Bryson Williams and Joshua Campbell.
Arabia Mountain (2-0) will meet Redan (1-1) on Friday at Hallford Stadium. Arabia Mountian has won the first three meetings in the series, including 35-20 in 2016.
Starr’s Mill at Northgate: It’s going to look like an old-school football game on Friday when No. 9 Starr’s Mill travels to Northgate for the annual meeting between the two rivals. There will be a lot of handoffs and pitches, with a few forward passes thrown in, and late arrivals to Northgate’s Henry Seldon Field may miss a big hunk of the game.
Starr’s Mill (1-0) will be trying to reverse its fortunes against Northgate, which has won the last two meetings and five of the last six. Class AAAAAA Northgate won 34-17 in 2016 and leads the series 6-5.
Dutchdown vs. Columbia (Saturday) at Avondale: This is an important week for Columbia (2-0) and Dutchtown (1-0). The outcome should provide more clarity for both teams and their first-year head coaches.
Columbia has beaten King and Druid Hills and will be trying to get to 3-0 for the first time since 2005. Dutchtown trampled Ola 38-7 last week and will be trying to go 2-0 for the first time since 2010, when the team that went 11-2 and reached the third round of the state playoffs.
Columbia’s explosive offense is led by Khalon Manuel, who rushed eight times for 175 yards and two touchdowns against Druid Hills. Quarterback Tremaine Callaway ran for 60 yards and threw for 141 yards and two touchdowns. Geovanni Dyer caught five passes for 77 yards and one touchdown.
Dutchtown, under first-year coach Clifford Fedd, prides itself on playing a physical style. The offense is led by all-state running back Chris Rodriguez, who scored a touchdown in the opener.
Dutchtown won last year’s game 48-0. It is the only time the two schools have played.
Kell at Lassiter: The Longhorns, who were idle last week, hit the road to play Cobb County rival Lassiter, a Class AAAAAAA team. Kell lost a heartbreaking 28-27 decision in overtime to Class AAAAAA No. 1 Tucker in the Corky Kell Classic to begin the season.
Kell is breaking in a new quarterback and Evan Conley was fine in the opener, completing 13 of 21 passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns. The Longhorns can always rely on all-state running back candidate Josiah Futral, who ran for 69 yards and caught three passes in the opener. Kell’s defense was led by Justin Talley, who had seven tackles and 3.5 sacks against Tucker.
Lassiter (2-0) leads the series 6-5. The Trojans have won the last two meetings and beat Kell 24-9 last year.