Sep. 17—Game: North Cobb (2-1) at Etowah (0-3), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: North Cobb 28, Etowah 10
All-time series: North Cobb leads 12-5
Prediction: North Cobb 23, Etowah 10
Friday's game between North Cobb and Etowah will be heavily swayed by the production of quarterback Malachi Singleton.
The North Cobb signal-caller has been sensational through three games this season, as the Warriors (2-1) look to build a three-game winning streak.
Singleton can attack defenses both on the ground and through the air, providing a difficult task for the Etowah defense to contain. Singleton already has 539 yards and six passing touchdowns, and another 453 yards and seven scores on the ground.
"We are working on our balance," North Cobb coach Shane Queen said. "The week before (against Milton), Malachi rushed for 224 yards and five touchdowns. This past week (against Alpharetta), he threw for 322 yards and three touchdowns."
As much of a threat as Singleton is, North Cobb also has a plethora of playmakers to surround him. The Warriors have talented players at the skill positions and an offensive line that has done an excellent job run blocking.
Turnovers will be a focus for North Cobb as it takes on an Etowah defense that has shown dramatic improvement over the last three weeks. The Warriors turned the ball over three times in their only loss of the year to Buford.
The Eagles (0-3) held North Forsyth to only 14 points in a tough, physical game last week. They shut the Raiders out in the second half.
"Every year we play them, it is a dogfight," Queen said of Etowah. "They are always well-coached, and they are a very physical football team. I expect nothing less, and I expect it to come down to the fourth quarter, like it has the last six or seven years."
Etowah has decreased the amount of points it has allowed in each game after starting with a 42-7 loss to Creekview. Following that game, the Eagles held an imposing River Ridge offense to nearly half that total. Last week, the unit improved even more.
"(The defense) played great," Etowah coach Matt Kemper said. "We were trying to move them around a bit in the game just due to North Forsyth's size. They did a great job, especially the defensive line. We tackled well and held a really potent offense in check."
Offensively, Etowah plans to simplify things even further as it looks for some consistency. Illegal procedure penalties stalled multiple drives in the loss to North Forsyth.
Kemper wants his team to get rid of those mental lapses, as it is difficult for the Eagles' run-centric offense to overcome long third-down distances. Despite the challenge, Etowah's defense looks to give its offense a chance Friday night.
"We are going to do less than last week offensively in hopes of executing a bit better," Kemper said. "We will try and figure out ways to slow (North Cobb) down offensively. They are very talented."