Sep. 17—Game: Stratford Academy (2-0) at Mount Paran Christian (2-1), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Stratford 20, Mount Paran 0
All-time series: Mount Paran leads 2-1
Prediction: Mount Paran 21, Stratford 20
Mount Paran Christian will look to end Stratford Academy's two-game winning streak as they face off Friday at the Catherine Steele Sewell Stadium.
Coach Mitch Jordan said his team used its bye-week to practice new plays and fix crucial mistakes that were made in its 35-14 loss to Mount Vernon Presbyterian.
"We kept turning the ball over, and we just didn't execute in the red zone," Jordan said. "We just gave (up) too many big plays in the secondary. We got some young guys back there and we just need to focus on getting the right coverages and people in place.
Jordan said a big part of the bye week was going back to the basics and working on ball security and fundamentals.
If Mount Paran is able to hone in to fix its defensive issues, it may be able to slow down Stratford Academy's high-powered offense, which is averaging 48 points per game. Stratford is also coming off a bye week, after defeating Westfield School, 49-14.
"We have a history with those guys and (coach Mark) Farriba, he does a great job," Jordan said. "We just try to work on getting off the field and keeping the ball in our offensive hands."
Jordan said he recognizes Stratford has veteran players on the offensive side of the ball at the quarterback, running back and wide receiver position.
Mount Paran will need to rely on its veterans on offense if it hopes to pay back Stratford for last year's 20-0 loss, including running backs Nick Germain and Sam Griffith-Tesch.
Germain has run for 246 yards, averaging 16.4 yards per carry with two touchdowns, while Griffith-Tesch has run for 208 yards with a touchdown.
"We have the same philosophy on the offense and defensive side of the ball so it is going to be an exciting game for sure. "
By Salinah On Yeugo
MDJ Sports Writer
Game: North Cobb Christian (2-2) at Fellowship Christian (2-1), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Fellowship Christian 27, North Cobb Christian 0
All-time series: Fellowship Christian leads 4-0
Prediction: Fellowship Christian 20, North Cobb Christian 7
Each week, North Cobb Christian is closer to finding its identity.
One thing is for certain. Even though the Eagles are now running a spread offense instead of the option, their strength is running the football. Jadin Coates is leading the way with 325 yards on 51 carries with three touchdowns. Trey Priester has 295 yards on 59 carries and four touchdowns.
"It's hard not to go with your strengths," North Cobb Christian coach Matt Jones said. "We invest a lot with that."
The Eagles started the season strong with identical 24-14 wins over St. Francis and Hebron Christian. Now they are looking to break a two-game losing streak after falling 28-18 to Whitefield Academy and 28-0 to Calvary Day.
Calvary Day and Whitefield are ranked No. 2 and No 7 in Class A private respectively, and the schedule will not get any easier. The Eagles are heading to Fellowship Christian to face the No. 8 Paladins.
"Surprisingly, you learn a lot from a loss," Jones said. "We've learned every week. We've learned who we are and what we can do offensively, defensively and special teams. We've lost to really good teams. All three are physical and tough."
The Eagles had a shot at beating Whitefield Academy two weeks ago. They had an 18-7 lead with 4 minutes to play in the fourth quarter before the Wolfpack scored three unanswered touchdowns to win.
When they faced Calvary last week, the Eagles were outplayed. They mustered 121 yards of offense and got into field goal position just once.
For North Cobb Christian, each game is a learning process.
"It just comes down to fundamentals," Jones said. "Our footwork wasn't good (against Calvary). We just have to be more consistent."
North Cobb Christian will be going up against a Fellowship team that also rotates two running backs. That familiarity should help defensive preparation.
Through two games, the Fellowship running game was led by Josh Cole, who had 180 yards and two touchdowns, 168 of those yards came against Christian-Heritage. Noah Falcon has also run for 84 yards and the Paladins get a big boost from return man Nathan Chapman, who is averaging 49.2 yards on six kickoff returns and 33.2 yards on six punt returns.
By Greg Oshust
MDJ Sports Correspondent
Game: Walker (0-4) at Community Christian (0-2), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Com. Christian 17, Walker 14
All-time series: Community Christian leads 1-0
Prediction: Walker 14, Community Christian 10
Walker is looking to get its first win of the season, and it is looking to do so this week against Community Christian.
Last year, the Knights defeated the Wolverines 17-14, but this year the Georgia Private and Parochial School program from Stockbridge, comes into the game 0-2 with a 56-6 loss to Pinecrest Academy and a 63-0 defeat to The King's Academy.
Coach Gary Nelson said Walker needs to focus on itself and on improving.
"We are just trying to focus on us," he said. "We have a lot of things to get better at.
"We have to do a better job of being more consistent, throwing and catching the ball, particularly in short gain stuff. I feel like every week there are two or three passing plays that should be fairly easy to connect on and for whatever reason we are not getting that done. And beyond that it's about shedding blocks and tackles."
The Wolverines are coming off a 31-20 loss to Lakeview Academy last week, where they put up the most points they have all season.
On offense, they were led by quarterback Harrison McClure, who has thrown for 503 yards with four touchdowns. Nelson said he has been impressed with Jason Hebert, the team's leading receiver with 190 yards on 13 receptions, and DJ Dennis, who has stepped up this season for an injured Ashton Pass.
"(Dennis) wasn't even with us at the beginning of the year," Nelson said. "He's a really good basketball and baseball player, and he decided to come out, and has really picked up the slack for us after Ashton Pass has had an ankle injury he's been dealing with the past two weeks. Having DJ and Jason there to step up has been really good for us, and I'm definitely proud of those two."
Louie Coke emerged as the team's long-range field goal kicker in the loss against Lakeview after going 2-for-2 on the night with a 37-yarder and a 40-yarder.
"(I'm) super excited about the way our kicking game is progressing," Nelson said. "We are excited to see (Coke) get better."
Throughout the first four games of the season, Nelson said he has noticed his team has been getting better at executing assignments, and he is hopeful the team will continue to improve.
"We have to worry about us, we have to fix the things we can control, and continue to learn to compete hard," he said. "If we do that, we'll be okay and we will find a way to get the monkey off our back and get a win."
By Anna Snyder
MDJ Sports Writer