It is a storm, Harrison said, that his Panthers must weather early on if his team is to have any chance of defeating the Cartersville Purple Hurricanes tonight at Weinman Stadium.
“It’s going to be a challenge for us, but we are going to need to play four quarters of football if we want to beat Cartersville,” he said.
Harrison’s respect for the Panthers’ first-round opponent in the Class AAA state playoffs and its coach stems from his playing days at Stephens County and as a coach with the Flowery Branch Falcons.
“I was the quarterback at Stephens County and coach Barden was its offensive coordinator,” Harrison said. “When I was at Flowery Branch, we would bring our team up to Cartersville to participate in the mini-camps that were held there.”
Harrison spent six seasons at Franklin County and four seasons at Flowery Branch before taking the helm at Jackson County this year. The Panthers finished the regular season 6-4 overall, 4-3 in region play and as the No. 4 seed out of Region 8-AAA. The Panthers average 27 points on offense, while giving up an average of 26 points per game. Jackson County ended the regular season with a 44-28 loss to Morgan County.
“We’ve got a real challenge in front of us, but we’ll be ready to play,” he said.
Waiting for them will be the heavily favored 10-0 Purple Hurricanes, who are the No. 1 seed out of Region 5-AAA, and ranked sixth statewide in Class AAA. Cartersville’s regular season concluded on the road with a 42-7 win over the Ringgold Tigers. The 42 points scored against the Tigers is identical to the same number Cartersville’s offense has been averaging through 10 games. On defense, the Purple Hurricanes have held opponents to less than two touchdowns per game.
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