Game: Pepperell (3-1, 1-0) at Coosa (0-4, 0-1)
Last meeting: Pepperell 38, Coosa 14 (Sept. 21, 2018)
All-time series: Pepperell leads 33-23
On the air: Mountain Coast Network — www.mountaincoastnetwork.com/coosa-eagles.html; WQTU-FM 102.3
Coosa facing off against Pepperell is a long-standing rivalry that dates back to 1958, but the coaches from both teams are more focused on what the contest means right now.
Friday’s matchup between the two teams at Eagle Stadium comes early in Region 7-AA action, and with the Dragons 1-0 in region play and the Eagles 0-1, the game has big implications for both schools.
“Coosa versus Pepperell — it’s been a game that’s been played for a long time,” Coosa head coach Todd Wheeler said. “It’s always been a game that we use to check where we stand, and it’s a region game so it means a lot.”
If Pepperell is able to come away with a win, the Dragons will sit undefeated in region play, but a win for Coosa’s Eagles could help salvage their 0-4 start to the football season.
“They’re a young team and inexperienced, but right now they have nothing to lose and everything to gain by beating us,” Pepperell head coach Rick Hurst said. “They’ve got a lot of pride out there. I know they will come out and play the best they can, but what we have to do is worry about us and cut down on mistakes.”
Pepperell is coming off a region win against Gordon Central during which the Dragons struggled in the first half of the game but were able to bounce back and come away with a win. Quarterback Gage Moses went 12-of-20 for 247 passing yards, and Wheeler knows the junior could cause trouble for the Eagles.
“Pepperell is a team that’s well-coached at the quarterback position,” Wheeler said. “They always have one that’s dangerous. This year they’ve got Gage Moses who is an athlete who can tuck the ball and run and he can throw the ball deep. They do a good job of playing hard and tough so you have to be fundamentally sound when you play a team like Pepperell.”
The Eagles are coming off a region loss to Chattooga last week, but after they started last season 0-5 before turning things around and making the Class AA state playoffs, Hurst knows Coosa can’t be overlooked at this point in the season.
“We’re starting to come out and see how good we can be,” Hurst said. “I fully expect them to come out ready to play with the attitude that a win would put them back in the thick of things, but our goal is to be unbeaten in the region.”
— By Jonathan Blaylock