Peyton Rhoades

Pepperell’s Payton Rhoades (right) and his teammates will welcome Pickens to Dragon Stadium on Friday night. Pepperell is looking to bounce back after a season-opening loss to Darlington.

Game: Pickens (1-0) at Pepperell (0-1)

Last meeting: Pickens 43, Pepperell 14 (Aug. 31, 2018)

All-time series: Pepperell leads 9-1-1

On the air: WQTU-FM 102.3

After a week off, Pepperell has a chance to bounce back in more ways than one.

Pepperell is coming off a season-opening loss to Darlington, and will face a team Friday that defeated the Dragons 43-14 last season, handing Pepperell its first loss in the series between the two teams.

But with two weeks to prepare, Pepperell head coach Rick Hurst said he likes his team’s chances when the two teams meet at Dragon Stadium in Lindale on Friday night. Pickens is coming off a 28-14 win against Stone Mountain.

“We’ve gotten a lot better in areas that we needed to,” Hurst said. “We just have to play well and execute. We played well at times against Darlington, but we were too inconsistent. That’s an area we have to see some improvement in Friday.”

The extra preparation gave Hurst time to focus on the linebacker position, which he said needed some work after Pepperell’s season opener. He said Payton Rhoades, Will Helton and Trey Forcier are just inexperienced at the position.

“They’re going to get better,” Hurst said. “That’s what these first three games are for, is to get better for region.”

Hurst keyed in on the offense as well, saying that consistency on that side of the ball is necessary for the team to move forward.

“We have to do better offensively, too,” Hurst said. “We had some things that were there, but we just didn’t fully execute when the play was called. Offensively, we’ve got to do a better job across the board — all 11 of us. That was the difference in the game last week.”

According to Hurst, a game-day decision will be made as to whether Gage Moses or Shannen White will be behind center to start the game. Moses was 8-of-19 for 152 yards before having the leave the game against Darlington in the third quarter.

“We’re fortunate to have players like that (White),” Hurst said. “ You’re capable of making making plays that can put is in a good position to win, but we have to execute. We’ve got to make sure he’s making the right reads and doing the right things to put us in the right situation.”

— Jonathan Blaylock

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