"It's a big challenge to go out every week and keep chopping," Purple Hurricane head coach Frank Barden said. "But that's all you can do -- keep on chopping."
Cartersville (4-1, 0-1 in Region 7B-AAA) has been impressive this season, opening with four wins against several traditionally strong football programs. It is just now experiencing the challenge of coming back after a setback.
That loss at the hands of the Buccaneers, who earned their first region win of their young history last week, 18-13, came because Allatoona's defense was able to keep the Canes from capitalizing on several second-half scoring opportunities.
Barden said self-improvement is the secret to high school football success and that is true for the Canes, who face stout challenges over the next few weeks.
"We have to take one week at a time," the coach said. "We are fixing to go on the road four of the last five weeks of the season."
He said the Bobcats (2-3, 1-0 in 7B-AAA) are the immediate challenge and noted they have had recent success, having grabbed a region win right out of the box against Cedartown.
The Cedartown win makes Gilmer County 1-0 in the region, which means it is in the thick of the playoff battle at this point and has a lot to lose Friday night.
"We have to be ready for a good Gilmer County team that just beat Cedartown 16-0," he said.
Barden said the Canes are likely to see a ground attack from a team that does a lot of things well and makes an effort not to help its opponents through turnovers.
"They have a good running back and fullback," the coach said. "They have a good, solid team that is well coached and is going to play hard against us."
The win against the Bulldogs isn't Gilmer's only shutout this season, as the Bobcats also held Dawson County scoreless in a 35-0 victory.
Their scoring numbers -- a 15-point average per game -- aren't exactly intimidating, however.
Defensively, the Bobcats, coached by Wesley Tankersley, are giving up 16 points per contest, a respectable total in any region.
However, Cartersville puts up higher offensive numbers, scoring at a 25-points-per-game clip while allowing 13.6 points each contest against arguably stronger competition.
The Allatoona game marked the return of Trey Graves as quarterback for Cartersville. Graves, who missed the Ringgold game, was 4 of 15 for 54 yards with one touchdown.
The coach said Cartersville's injuries should not hamper the team's performance.
"Most everyone is healthy," he said. "We have a few nicks and bruises but most everyone should be ready."
Barden said the Canes are trying to improve on the practice field and then carry that to the playing field.
"You try to get better each week and keep improving and stay consistent," he said. "You also work on ways to get the ball in the hands of the people whose hands the ball needs to be in."
Game time is at 7:30 p.m.