However, the two teams have played each other to extremely close games in recent years, including a 24-20 victory in Cartersville’s favor a year ago.
As a result, expectations should be that the two teams will have another closely contested game today at Cartersville High as the two squads are off to 1-0 starts and have high expectations for 2013.
“If you had to pick a team from our schedule to look forward to this season, it’s going to be this game,” Cass coach Rick Casko said. “It’s a great game, it’s a great atmosphere and it’s a great rivalry.”
Although the last three games between the two rivals finished in a one-score margin of defeat for Cass, tonight’s game is expected to be the most competitive as Cass has its best team in recent memory.
“They have a good football team,” Cartersville coach Frank Barden. “They’ve got 19 starters back. A lot of them are three-year starters. Their offensive line is very big. They are very well-coached, so I think it’ll be a huge challenge for us at home.”
The fact that it is a rivalry game will likely make the play on the field all the more physical and intense.
“Our kids will be ready to play. They look forward to the game,” Casko said. “We have great team unity and continuity and our kids are really up for the challenge. The intensity will be there. We are going to play physical and hard all night.”
One advantage Cass has this season that it has not had in past matchups with Cartersville is enough size to compete with the Purple Hurricanes’ linemen.
“It might be the first time in history,” Casko said of his team’s size advantage. “We are a good size, but [Cartersville] still has good size. They’ve never been small, but a lot of the attention is given to their athleticism. Interior-wise, we got word from Dalton they might be as good, if not better, than they were last year.”
Still, it is no secret that Cartersville has the speed and talent to give any team fits.
“They had one heck of a year last year and they come back with a lot of returning players,” Casko said. “They bring back a veteran quarterback, which is always an edge, and they have great, great team speed. They can run all over the field.
“I would say we know they are the most talented team, by far, on our schedule.”
Carterville also is very different than the Colonels’ last opponent, Adairsville.
“Cartersville is so big-play capable. They have enough skill and they have big-play capability,” Casko said. “They’re going to move the ball because they are very talented. It’s a matter of keeping them off the goal line. With Adairsville, we felt more like stopping the run a little more. Whereas Brooks [Barden] is more of a thrower than a runner, Marcus [Childers] is more of a runner.”
Maybe the best part of the rivalry will be the atmoshpere at the stadium. With expectations high for both teams, there will be plenty of excitement in the crowd for Cartersville’s home opener.
“It’s fun for the community. It’s fun for the people in the stands,” Barden said. “It’s really a game that doesn’t mean anything as far as your region standing or going to the state playoffs. For us, a fun game but more so for the fans of the two schools. I think it’s going to be a great game, a great atmosphere and going to be a great crowd. It’s a great crowd every year we play.”