Calhoun, Allatoona, Westminster await Canes

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King, guest speaker at the Rotary Club meeting Thursday at the Cartersville Country Club, said the Purple Hurricanes players and coaches will be lining up against several defending state championship teams.

“We’re going to open up scrimmaging with Westminster, which was the 3-A state champ, at our place,” King said. “The first official game will be against Allatoona, which is the 5-A state champ, at our place. We’re looking for a game the following week. The week after that we’ll play Calhoun at Calhoun. We’re renewing that rivalry a little bit.

“Then we’ll play Hapeville Charter, out of Atlanta, and then go into our region, which includes Cedartown, Central, Sandy Creek, LaGrange, Troup County and Chapel Hill.”

King noted the quality of opponents will be high.

“Some of you are grimacing because you are familiar with high school football, so we’ve got our work cut out for us,” the coach told Rotary Club members. “But our players and coaches are ready for the challenge.”

King praised that staff and the other coaches at Cartersville.

“It’s a special group of men to work with,” he said. “From [head baseball] coach [Stuart] Chester to [head boys basketball] coach [Mike] Tobin and [head girls basketball coach [Cindy] Moore, all of our coaches have encouraged me. They send me emails congratulating me every time they see me. That’s a good thing to be a part of. We have a great working relationship with all of those guys.”

King said he not only benefitted from that support level but will be on the giving side.

“Coach Tobin will text me the morning of a football game,” he said. “Coach Chester texts me. We take pride in being a Purple Hurricane and in doing what’s best for the kids.”

King said he likes that aspect of the program, athletes being involved in more than one sport.

“We had more guys out for basketball this year, and that’s great to see,” he said. “I’m going to be there watching them play, just like coach Tobin was there watching us play.

“That’s what it takes. I’m not a big specialist guy. I played three sports in high school. The reason was to be involved in something, not that I was that good an athlete, just to have something to do with coaches in my life. I try to emphasize the same thing here.”

King, who was questioned by Rotary Club members as part of the meeting, disclosed the Canes didn’t just prepare for meeting Buford on the football field when they were about to meet in the state championship game, won 10-0 by Cartersville. “I knew from past experience that you can kind of be in shock and awe if it’s your first time,” he said. “We took the team down Friday night to the Westminster game, with them coming back and beating Blessed Trinity.

“Our guys were standing up cheering Westminster. Of course that was before we found out we’ll be scrimmaging with them this season. Our guys got to look around and see how quick the warmups were. We wanted them to have that shock value that night and not see it the next day.”

He said instead of shock and awe, he and his coaching staff got to see how special the Canes were.

“Buford’s players were bigger than we were in a lot of places, but we played with a lot of passion,” he said. “They believed, and that was a special thing to see.”