Rick Casko, head coach, said the Colonels have played a tough schedule and a number of those opponents have already made the state playoffs and several more could yet qualify.
“This is the last game of the year, and you want to go out winning,” Casko said. “I told our team this is the game they’ll always remember and it is.”
Casko noted Cass had a bye last week and the Colonels may have caught a break because they weren’t sure who’d they play when they started practice.
“We lined up and had a lot of good fundamental football last week, and our kids really responded. We were hitting each other pretty hard. The kids got a taste of that and are looking forward to [today’s game] and we think they will play really physical football.”
The two teams are capable of putting points on the scoreboard in bunches.
The Colonels scored 24 points per outing while allowing 31 points. Southeast scored an average 20 points per Friday night while allowing 25.
Casko said one of the secrets to the offensive success of the Raiders is the variety of looks they field.
“They have two different quarterbacks, one which features the shotgun and a quick tailback with something of a spread look,” he said. “The other runs off the I formation. They use whichever is working. They have had success with both.”
He said the Raiders make a lot of good plays.
The Colonels will be putting an emphasis on holding that success in check.
“We’re looking at keeping the big plays out of the game,” Casko said.
He added the Colonels will be trying to inject some big plays through special teams play. “We think they may be a little susceptible to big plays with our special teams.”
The Colonels, who play in Region 7A-AAAA, would like nothing better than for that finish to hold a victory over Southeast Whitfield, which plays in Region 7B-AAAA.
It should be a fairly even matchup since Southeast (4-5 overall and 2-3 in its region) is the region’s No. 4 seed while Cass (3-6 overall and 1-3 in its region) finished with its region’s No. 4 seed.
The two teams played five games against common foes with similar — but not identical — results.
Both defeated Heritage, Catoosa, Southeast Whitfield won 21-10, while Cass defeated Heritage, 43-7.
The Colonels dropped their contest with Dalton, 30-17, while the Cats overpowered the Raiders, 42-0.
Cass lost to Northwest Whitfield, 52-35, and Southeast dropped that game, 45-28.
The Colonels came up short to Gilmer, 30-13, while Southeast fell, 18-6, to the same team.
Cass was defeated by Cedartown, 54-28; while the Bulldogs claimed a 42-28 victory over Southeast.
Casko said the two teams both appear better than their records.
“We’ve played teams who have made the playoffs and some who appear on track to make them,” he said. “That includes teams like Adairsville, Cartersville, Pickens, Northwest Whitfield, Dalton and Gilmer.
“We lost some key players to start the season and have been playing teams that are having very good years.”
The Colonels also have been steadily improving, especially at the quarterback spot, where freshman Trevor Lowe has been maturing.
Casko said that improvement has been season long.
“We expect him to play better this week for us,” the coach said. “He’s a hard worker. He’s got size, ability, the head. He wants to be good.”
He added Lowe’s experience has come primarily on the job.
“In middle school he was not just a quarterback,” Casko said. “But you can’t exchange experience.”
The Colonels also have benefitted as other players have grown into offensive roles.
“Keylon Woodard is one of those,” Casko said. “We’ve worked him into some offensive roles and he’s made some good plays for us. That’s also true about Seth Hughes.”
The coach noted the Colonels also are getting back four players who missed a game due to disciplinary actions.
“We should be at full strength,” Casko said. “We’ve had a good two weeks of practice and they really want to play. This is the game they’ll always remember. Hopefully they’ll do the things they need so they’ll have great memories.”