The two most evenly matched teams in the county, and possibly the two most physical, square off in a rivalry game when Adairsville travels to Cass today to open up each team’s season.
“It’s a rivalry, first of all,” Cass coach Rick Casko said. “Adairsville is always going to be a solid, hard-nosed team. We have to line up and be ready to play.”
“It’s going to be an emotionally charged game,” first-year Adairsville coach Eric Bishop said. “It’ll be an emotional game from start to finish. A lot of our guys played with or against their guys growing up, so there should be a little extra intensity.”
The Adairsville football program is known for its grit and toughness. However, Cass will not shy away from the physicality of this rivalry game as the Colonels have one of the biggest offensive and defensive lines they’ve had in years.
“They’re huge on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball,” Bishop said. “They’re experienced, too. I think they have some kids who have two or three years of experience under their belts.”
“We want to play aggressively and very physically,” Casko said. “Our guys have worked very hard in the weight room the past few years and there is a lot of experience there, so with that comes maturity. That’s definitely one of the strengths of our team.”
Adairsville will not be left without its own advantages.
“They’re very physical. Defensively, they fly around and play hard-nosed defense,” Casko said of the Tigers. “They play hard. Always have and always will.”
The Tigers have a strong stable of running backs in Tristin Smith and Sidnee Johnson to go along with a dynamic quarterback in Marcus Childers. Childers broke off a run for 99 yards in his team’s scrimmage against Dalton, and Cass will have to work hard to contain his big-play ability.
“They have a very, very talented quarterback in Marcus. He can do a lot of things,” Casko said. “Their whole offense is very explosive. They can do many, many things and have a lot of talented players at the skill positions.”
Cass has its own weapons for freshman quarterback Trevor Lowe to throw to. Casko is expecting a more-balanced attack this season and sees several of his skill players sharing touches.
“[Lowe] doesn’t play like a freshman,” Bishop said. “He showed a lot of poise against Gordon Central. He managed the game for them. I think he also made a 25-yard touchdown pass, so he’s certainly capable. Both offenses can move the football. Both defenses can come up with big plays.”
All the Colonels had a promising scrimmage against Gordon Central. The team scored a touchdown on each of its first five possesions.
Meanwhile, Adairsville impressively defeated Dalton in its scrimmage. As such, both teams are coming in with high expectations for the season.
“I think our kids are playing with confidence and a staple of our team is our interior,” Casko said. “We are returning five starters on the offensive line and three starters on the defensive line. We feel good about our team unity and our leadership.”
“They’re scary in a lot of ways,” Bishop said of the Colonels. “They have a good combination of size and speed. I think they have the best chemistry Cass has ever had.”
In the 2012 season opener, Cass defeated Adairsville by a score of 33-27.
“It was a heck of a game last year,” Casko said of that matchup between the two teams. “It was really exciting and well fought.”
“We had the ball with a chance to win last year with a minute and a half left,” Bishop said.
A similar game can be expected this season with both teams motivated to win their first game of the season and beat a rival.
“Who wins will be determined by who makes the fewest mistakes, penalties, turnovers, missed assignments, things like that,” Bishop said. “I fully expect it will come down to that. I certainly think we’ll be in the ballgame. I don’t expect it to be lopsided one way or another. I fully expect it to be close. I think it’ll be like last year.”