As it enters the midway point of its season, Adairsville football is aware of what’s at stake.
“This little run of games is going to be a playoff-type atmosphere the whole rest of the way here, because every game has such strong implications on the playoff picture,” head coach Eric Bishop said. “We’ve got to be prepared for that type of atmosphere.”
On the docket Friday is a matchup against Sonoraville, which, on paper, should be a good game.
The two teams are very close statistically — Sonoraville is seventh in total offense in Region 6-AAA; Adairsville is eighth. Sonoraville is fourth in total defense; Adairsville is fifth.
Where the comparison starts to fall apart is point differential — the 4-3 Phoenix, coming off a 33-0 win over Haralson County, are plus-52, while Adairsville is negative-4.
A lot of this has to do with the high-scoring affairs that Adairsville’s losses have been.
With a matchup between a team outscoring its opponents and one with a negative point differential, something has to give.
Bishop is pleased with how his team has responded this week coming off a 42-16 loss to Calhoun a week ago.
He said that this past Monday — a practice held indoors — and Tuesday were the “most focused,” and had the “best output.”
This is welcome news for a Tiger team right in the thick of it as they compete for a playoff spot.
A win here could set up a favorable matchup later on in the region play-in game on Nov. 3.
The Tigers’ focal point this week will be Sonoraville quarterback Patrick Moore, a speedy, shifty signal caller who isn’t afraid to take off and run. Moore’s 96 rush yards per game is good for fourth overall in the region.
He has accounted for 10 touchdowns as well.
To simulate the types of things Moore does, Bishop said that he has had “about five or six different guys in there trying to simulate him scrambling and being shifty.”
Adairsville features a player similar to Moore in Mason Boswell. Bishop was impressed with his quarterback’s play in the loss to Calhoun.
“Mason Boswell transformed in front of our eyes Friday,” Bishop said. “He really found his niche against a very good Calhoun defense.”
Boswell and the Adairsville offense will be going up against a Sonoraville defense that ranks fourth in total defense.
It features two 2016 second-team all-state linebackers in Sherrod Agee, who is committed to Fort Valley State, and Lane Moore.
The good news for Adairsville: Ricky Ross, the Sonoraville defensive coordinator, held the same position at Calhoun for several years.
Adairsville will see a defensive scheme, the 3-3-5, that is very similar to what it saw against Calhoun last week.
This type of continiuity allows the team to prepare for what is essentially the same defense two weeks in a row.
“We’ll be looking at much of the same defense that we saw last week with a little bit different wrinkles,” Bishop said. “Good for us that we’re seeing back to back defenses that are very very similar. [We] hope that the consistency factor gets better and better. At least we’re not seeing a whole different scheme.”
This is a game that the Tigers have a good chance of winning.
It’s certainly one that will dictate where the rest of their season goes and what the implications will be as it continues on in region play.