Game: Pepperell (7-2, 5-1) at Chattooga (5-4, 4-2)
Last meeting: Chattooga 19, Pepperell 7 (Nov. 2, 2018)
All-time series: Pepperell leads 20-14
On the air: WQTU-FM 102.3
In a rematch of last year’s regular-season finale, Pepperell is looking for a reversal of results.
A win Friday against Region 7-AA opponent Chattooga in Summerville would help secure the Dragons the No. 2 seed in the Class AA state playoffs, allowing Pepperell to host a first-round game at Dragon Stadium in Lindale.
“We know they have a lot on the line, and we have a lot on the line,” Pepperell head coach Rick Hurst said. “It makes for a physical contest. It’s always been that way every year we’ve played, and I don’t think Friday will be any exception. Hopefully we’ll come away with a win and host a playoff game.”
Prior to last season’s loss to Chattooga, the Dragons had won 10 straight games in the series. Hurst would like to get back to that after losing 19-7, which secured Chattooga the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, forcing Pepperell to go on the road.
The Dragons’ season ended with a 34-0 loss to Douglass-Atlanta in the opening round of the playoffs.
“It’s been a really good game over the last six years,” Chattooga coach Charles Hammon said. “We haven’t come out on top in many of them, but last year — that was a good feeling.”
Hurst said his players know how valuable it will be to be able to play a first-round matchup in front of a home crowd.
“We had one of the more physical and emotional days (this week),” Hurst said. “It was a tough practice — one for the ages. We got after each other, and if we do that, we’ll be just fine. Our upperclassmen know what it means to have that first-round playoff matchup at home, and I think we’ll play well.”
Pepperell is looking to win its third straight game after shutting out region foe Armuchee 63-0 this past week. Chattooga is also on a two-game streak after coming out on top against Dade County 33-12.
Lashaun Lester rushed for 220 yards and four touchdowns on 21 carries against the Wolverines. Hurst said he’s a player his team will definitely have to be aware of on the field.
“We have to know where he is,” Hurst said. “He does a good job of seeing holes. He’s got vision. We have to make sure we always keep a body on him every minute and not allow him to bust a big one.”
The Dragons’ defense is allowing only 10.1 points per game this season, while the offense is scoring 31.2 points per game.
“Defensively, they fly around a do a lot of good things,” Hammon said. “Hopefully, we can gain some momentum back going into the playoffs.”
— Jonathan Blaylock