Cartersville is one with a long and illustrious history of success, while Coahulla Creek is a new program coming off a 2-8 season in 2012.
Friday’s game at Cartersville High may not seem significant as a positive outcome for the Purple Hurricanes is extremely likely, but head coach Frank Barden sees the game as an important chance for his players to improve.
“Our biggest thing is we’re trying to make sure that we get better each week because the only thing you can control is how you play and practice,” he said. “We have to get better because that’s what we can control. We can’t control how people are practicing, who we will face down the road, whether it be this week or in four weeks.
“You can’t let a day go by in which you don’t go ahead and get better.”
As it happens, in four weeks the Canes face off against region rival Adairsville, and two weeks later, top Region 5-AAA contender Ringgold. Barden may not have been specifically talking about those games, but without question, the Canes’ coach would like to see his team improve to be prepared for tougher tests later in the year.
“As far as a specific area, we would like to get better in the kicking game,” he said. “We would like to get better in our offense and we’d like to get better in all aspects.”
Of course, the threat of injury is always enough to give any coach nightmares. The more experience on Friday nights and in practice, the more a team will develop a contingency plan for such a detrimental occurrence.
“Probably for us, the biggest thing is to keep getting quality reps where we can gain depth,” Barden said. “We’ll have some kids out over the course of the season, so the guys are going to have to practice each week and get better. Hopefully, it won’t do anything but help you get better down the road.”
A game like Friday’s may also offer Cartersville another opportunity to get some of the younger players on the roster experience. Such has been the case in the first four weeks of the season as the second team has gotten some important repetitions to spur development in each of the Canes’ contests.
“It’s just a process of trying to mature as a good player,” Barden said. “At all positions, we said it last week, there’s something to practicing, but anytime you can get them in a Friday night game situation, that’s always a good thing. The more people we can get to play, the better we’ll be in the future.”
As a result, Barden is more concerned about how his team performs than the opposition.
“I think they’re still just trying to get an identity. They are more of a running team, but they’re doing a lot of things in trying to gain something they can do and be successful,” Barden said of Coahulla Creek. “They’re going to have some good players. A lot of them are young kids who are going to get better as they get older.”
Barden may not be envious of Coahulla Creek’s roster and program’s background. However, he does admire the academic institution, specifically the building in Whitfield County.
“I know it’s a nice school,” Barden said. “It looks like a college mall.”