It is still too early in the season to start calling North Murray coach David Gann a “miracle worker.”
It is the perfect time, however, to label the Mountaineers versus the Cartersville Purple Hurricanes a “big game.”
“No, I am not (a miracle worker) by a long shot,” said Coach Gann, who is in his first year as head coach of the Mountaineers after spending six years at Ringgold. “All I’ve done is instill in our players a sense of pride and a sense of how to win football games.”
Thus far, the Mountaineers are 3-0. Their three wins this season already exceeds the total number of wins North Murray accumulated the past two seasons. The Mountaineers were a combined one-and-19 during that period. Their lone win came in 2010.
How North Murray fares the rest of this season could very well depend on how it plays today against the visiting Purple Hurricanes, who are coming off an impressive 38-6 win against Rockmart.
Cartersville heads into Friday night’s game also unbeaten at 3-0 and ranked 8th in the state in Class AAA.
In Region 5-AAA, Cartersville and North Murray are two of four teams who have undefeated 3-0 records. The other two are Gordon Central and Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe.
“What you are seeing with North Murray is what you see with a lot of new schools,” Canes coach Frank Barden said. “You start out with primarily ninth and 10th-graders, and then a couple of years later they are juniors and seniors who have been playing together all this time. Allatoona was the same way.”
Barden also sees the making of a great game between his Canes and Gann’s Mountaineers.
The Canes are averaging 30 points per game on offense, while giving up an average of 11 points on defense. North Murray’s offense has been generating 40 points per game, while giving up 23 points per game on defense. One of the Mountaineers’ victories was a 57-44 high scoring affair against Dade County.
“This is the first region (5-AAA) game of the season for the both of us,” he said. “One of us will be 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the region come Saturday morning. I’m sure everybody (at North Murray) is excited about playing us. They will be the home team. Their fans will be excited as well. It is definitely a big game for both teams.”
The game’s importance is foremost on Gann’s mind as well.
“Cartersville will be the best team we have played so far, maybe the best team we play the entire season,” he said. “One thing for sure is that we are about to learn a lot about ourselves.”
What kind of lesson Cartersville teaches North Murray will depend on how well the Canes handle the game’s hype.
“We’ve done all we can do in preparing for North Murray,” Barden said. ”We’ve focused on improving ourselves during the past four days on the practice field. Come game time, it will be all about winning.”
Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.