The chance to assure themselves a winning record and a better playoff seed should provide all the motivation Crisp Academy’s Wildcats need for their regular season finale here Friday.
Just in case they need any additional incentive for the clash vs. Randolph Southern, they have it in their desire to send their seven seniors out on a victorious note in their final home grid game ever.
“With all that’s riding on the line for us and for Randolph-Southern which also needs to come out on top in order to ensure itself of a winning season and an easier first-round playoff foe, it’s definitely a big game,” Crisp coach Ron Drummonds said.
Both teams bring identical records of 5-4 overall, 2-2 in Region 2-A GISA into the contest that will end with the winner visiting the Region 1-A runner-up and the loser going to the champion of that loop.
The Wildcats and Patriots have met seven common opponents that the former outscored by a combined 202-126 margin and the latter outpointed 207-107.
Randolph’s wins came at the expense of Nathaniel Greene (41-6), John Hancock (54-14), Griffin Christian (23-21), Fullington (40-12) and First Presbyterian (35-15). Its losses have been to Terrell (45-23), Sherwood (35-28), Frederica (21-14) and Robert Toombs (39-0).
The ’Cats and ’Pats engaged each other pretty evenly when they tangled in a preseason scrimmage designed primarily to get playing time for everybody.
Since then, Drummonds said he has viewed video of several Randolph Southern regular season games and has been impressed by what he saw of the Patriots in those scraps.
“It’s pretty obvious they have a good team,” the Crisp coach said. “Offensively, they operate out of the shotgun spread and also go with some one-back and empty backfield sets from which they run more than they pass. They do throw the ball well, though, as their quarterback is very effective and he has a receiver or two who are really good.
“Defensively, they run a four-man front from which they do a good job of quickly getting to the football. They have been vulnerable at times to the run, though.
“The same could be said about us, too, as there have been some nights we did a good job against the run and other nights when we defended the pass better.”
Since both teams are about even in the very important numbers department and therefore call on several two-way performers, the Crisp coach said the evening will prove “challenging” for both. The keys to victory will be avoiding turnovers and limiting penalties, he predicted.
The Wildcats coach did give the Patriots an edge in the experience category, noting “They do have quite a few seniors whereas we only have seven (Chip Posey, Jordan Howard, Corey Stewart, Rush Brown, Justin McKinney, Alan Longoria and Chandler Larkin).”
That group will be recognized along with the school’s senior cheerleaders in a brief ceremony prior to the 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
NOTES: Crisp Academy won last year’s game 44-28 to end a three-game losing skid against the Patriots and take a 4-3 series advantage. ... The Crisp-Randolph winner will likely draw either Curtis Baptist or Dawson Street as its first-round state playoff foe while the loser will probably face Thomas Jefferson. ... With the exception of Rush Brown who has missed the entire season, no Wildcat has been counted out of action this week.