"Each game you play is a shot at the playoffs," Tiger head coach Jim Kremer said. "If you want to keep that shot alive, you have to win."
The Tigers, who will be on the road this week, are a little better positioned to make the playoffs right now, as they sport a 1-0 record in Region 7A-AA and 3-2 overall record. That compares with the Indians' 0-1 record in 7A-AA and 2-3 overall mark.
Kremer said Adairsville must continue to play its game to improve its record Friday because Armuchee wants to win badly, too.
"I look for them to play real hard," he said. "This game is very important to us and to them."
The coach said Adairsville has improved this season and he feels it is better than its overall record might suggest.
"We played Ridgeland and Dade County down to the wire," he said. "Ridgeland beat Dalton and Dade is pretty good, so I think we are pretty good, too. We are four or five plays away from being 5-0."
The Tigers and Indians have played one common opponent, Dade County, ranked No. 8 in the state coaches poll. Adairsville fell 19-11 to Dade while Armuchee was on the wrong end of a 16-0 blanking.
Adairsville's coach said Dade did not have an easy time adding to its win total against the Indians. "It was real close for a while," Kremer said. "They were 0-0 until just before the half."
The coach said Dade shut down Armuchee's running game. "Dade is really strong against certain teams, especially their running game," he added.
Kremer said Armuchee lost a number of starters from last year's team and some key players this year have been injured. "They are tough and gutsy," he said. "I'd say coach (John) Mullinax is getting as much out of them as he possibly can."
Adairsville has taken a different route.
After losing their first two games, the Tigers have been coming together offensively. They averaged 15 points their first two games and 38 the last three.
Over all five of its games, Adairsville is averaging scoring 28 points a game and giving up 21, compared with Armuchee's 19-point scoring average and giving up 29 points.
But, as always, Adairsville will be putting more emphasis on doing what it does.
The Tigers have been building on their success but at times their play has been inconsistent.
"Sometimes we hit a wall, lose our concentration," the coach said. "Against Coosa we led 23-0 and kind of stalled in the second half. It was not necessarily due to adjustments they made as much as the fact we weren't blocking.
"We led East Hall 28-0 and turned the ball over three times in a row."
He said the lapses are not as drastic now as earlier.
"We had a couple of penalties (against Coosa) for illegal substitution, taking too much time, and ended up two or three times having a hard time moving the chains," he said.
Kremer said he believes Adairsville would have had an easier time if it had stopped the Eagles on their first drive of the second half. "They scored in six or seven plays and got the momentum back and were back in the game," he said.
He wants to see the Tigers play to their capability, block and tackle effectively and keep their emotions at an even keel for four quarters.
Kremer said one big plus for Adairsville has been its kicking game.
"I think we had one turnover and they turned it over twice," he said. "We won that battle. We also punted it down to their one-foot line, then the next play we pinned them for a safety."
He said a big part of that kicking success rests with is Jake Powell. "I think he is the best in the region," Kremer said.
The coach said another big plus last week was a fake punt the Tigers used after Coosa narrowed the lead to 23-14.
Instead of punting, the Tigers turned to Easton Jones, who ran 76 yards for the score. "I believe that broke their back," Kremer said.
He said he called the play because he thought it would work. "You practice it forever and you look for the right time to do it," he said.
Kremer took note of the change in Adairsville's fortunes since the start of the year.
"I really thought when we were 0-2 we had a good chance of being good," he recalled. "The attitude the following Monday after our loss to Dade was that they were ready to go to work. Our back was against the wall and I'm proud of them for still believing back then. I can see them get a little pep in their step now."
He said there has been a lot of support from the fans in Adairsville.
"I think the fans realized early we had a chance to have a good season," he added.
But Kremer said the team's hopes for having a good season still are ahead of it.
"We need this game Friday," he said. "We've still got Pepperell, Model and Rockmart to play."
Game time is at 7:30 p.m. at Armuchee.