Game: Coosa (0-1) at Darlington (1-0)
Last meeting: Darlington 21, Coosa 6 (Aug. 24, 2018)
All-time series: Darlington leads 16-5
On the air: WLAQ-AM 1410, Mountain Coast Network — www.mountaincoastnetwork.com/coosa-eagles.html
Fans coming to Darlington’s Chris Hunter Stadium on Friday night will get a chance to see a matchup between two of the longest-tenured coaches in Floyd County.
The Tigers welcome Coosa to the lakeside for the second week of the season with Darlington coming off a 17-7 win against Pepperell, and Coosa off a 26-14 loss to Trion.
Tommy Atha, who’s in his 18th year as head coach for the Tigers, said eliminating mistakes will be key for his team as they hope to improve to 2-0 and win their seventh straight contest against the Eagles.
“Every week we’ve got to go back and fix the mistakes that we’ve made, and we made a lot of mistakes Friday night,” Atha said. “They showed up on film. You would expect that in an opening ballgame. The big thing for us is do we take the next step? Do we lessen the mistakes, and do we do the things that give us a chance to win on Friday night?”
Todd Wheeler, who’s in his seventh year with the Eagles and has been coaching in the area for several years before that, said to be successful against the Tigers his team will have to do what they can to improve themselves leading up to the game.
The Eagles came up short in last season’s matchup, and Coosa has lost several key players from that roster, leaving them with a young squad.
“Darlington is a well-coached team,” Wheeler said. “They don’t make many mistakes. They’ve got a few weapons and they’ve got some big playmakers. It’s going to be a big challenge for us, but it’s an exciting challenge. We just have to focus on us and improve.
“We’re a young team, but if we continue to improve and work on our mistakes and just keep them playing loose, we can just play and let the chips fall where they may.”
— Jonathan Blaylock