Cass then beat Adairsville in the first game of the season.
However, wins by association do not count on a team’s record and they certainly won’t matter Friday night when Cass hosts Dalton in a crossover region game.
“From what I heard, they were missing around five starters,” Cass head coach Rick Casko said. “They’re always very well coached and a solid program with great tradition. They’ll play very hard.”
Dalton, which is 1-2 on the season, has looked impressive since that opening scrimmage, bringing Ringgold to overtime and defeating Gilmer 31-0.
Its other loss came to a powerhouse Calhoun program by a score of 17-2.
One of the players who was absent against Adairsville and will be a focal point for the Colonels’ defense will be tailback Kelvis Rhodes. Rhodes is averaging 57 yards through his team’s first three games and an impressive 9.5 yards per carry.
“He’s just a junior and he’s a good offensive player,” Casko said of Rhodes. “Offensively, they are very solid, not real flashy. They block and they run at you with some counters and some option.”
If recent history is any indication of which team will win Friday night, the advantage goes to the Colonels.
Casko’s squad beat the Catamounts 35-7 last season.
“We perhaps played our best game against them last year,” Casko said. “We played a very good football game at their place, so I’m sure they want to redeem themselves.
“We played really well and that’s our plan this time. We need to play well.”
Dalton responded after losing to Cass last year with six straight victories, taking them to the second round of the AAAA state playoffs.
It was there that the Catamounts lost to Sandy Creek, the eventual state champions, by a score of 35-13.
“They have a very good football team,” Casko said. “We’ll have our hands full.”
Dalton’s success last season was not overly impressive considering the program’s history.
“There’s a lot of tradition there,” Casko said. “[In 2011] they forfeited some games or else they would have had a winning record for 50 years, so that’s the kind of program they have.”
Still, the Colonels are looking forward to the matchup, especially to get the bad taste out of their mouths from last Friday’s five-interception, 52-35 loss against Northwest Whitfield.
“You can feel it through the course of practice, we just had an outstanding practice [Tuesday]. That makes me feel good. Our kids are going to compete,” Casko said. “The way I look at it, we got that one out of the way.
“Everything went wrong and we held the ship together. That really calls for confidence going into this week.”
The Cass coaching staff has discussed the loss with the players, which has added further focus and motivation to the week of practice.
“We challenged them. We had some one-on-ones,” Casko said of his interactions with the players after Friday’s loss. “We had a very physical practice [Tuesday], and in reality, the potential to get to the postseason hasn’t even begun yet.
“I’d rather that happen now than in a game where we have a chance to go to the playoffs.”
Like last year, the Colonels may very well provide their best performance of the season thanks to the extra motivation, making for a very competitive contest Friday night.