“It was down here,” he said of a game the Jags rallied late to win 19-18 at the Bibb County Sports Complex in his first season coaching the Hurricanes.
A year later, Spalding topped the Hurricanes 30-0 at Memorial Stadium in Griffin. The all-time series between the two schools resumes in 24 hours when they meet again at Memorial Stadium.
Spalding (0-0-1) comes into the game looking for its first win of the season after battling Class AA No. 2 state-ranked Lamar County to a 3-all tie last week. Rutland (1-0), meanwhile, is looking to improve to 2-0 after a 33-6 win last week against Southwest-Macon.
“They are huge on the front line,” second-year Spalding head coach Nick Davis said of the Hurricanes. “They have great talent in the skilled positions and they fly around on defense, so it’s going to be a tough game for us.”
Collins said, “We have spent three days preparing for them and we still have a ways to go — it’s going to be a tough road trip for us.”
Leading Rutland’s no-huddle, spread offense into the fray are quarterback Darren Tucker, running back Montez Chaney (No. 2) and wide receivers Shakenneth Williams (No. 21) and C. T. Kleckley (No. 22).
Williams, who scored on a pair of touchdown receptions last week, has the attention of Davis — who serves as defensive coordinator for the Jags — and his defense.
“They showed pass, throwing the deep ball and running the zone option with him,” Davis said. “They’re going to try to get the ball four or five times a game downfield to him, and they’ll even use him as the quarterback in the zone option — he’s probably the best athlete they have.”
Leading Spalding’s defense into the mix Friday night are Anthony Bush (7 tackles and a fumble recovery) and Larry McCord (6 tackles and 1 fumble caused) as well as Devontez Carter (5 tackles) and Tevarus Harris (5 tackles, including 3 TFLs).
The unit held Lamar County out of the end zone last week and limited the Trojans to a last-second field goal with no time on the clock.
“They look very athletic and run well,” Collins said. “It could be a challenge for us to find some holes to run through.”
Toward that end, Collins has challenged his quarterback this week.
“He has to step up his game a little from last week,” Collins said.
On the other side of the ball, Brandon Thomas leads Spading’s spread offense. The junior rushed 19 times for a team-high 73 yards last week and latched onto four passes for 35 yard to finish with 108 of the team’s 144 yards from scrimmage.
Thomas and the rest of the Jaguars offense will face a 3-4 defense this week.
“They are huge up front — and they’re not space eaters,” Davis noted of the Hurricanes. “They have a 6-foot-4, 350-pound nose guard and the kid can move for his size. After him they are not as big, but they get off the ball well and they’re aggressive up front.”
Davis also said Chaney looked good at inside linebacker for the Hurricanes.
Special teams is virtually an unknown for Spalding.
“We didn’t get a chance to see much of it on the film because they only punted a couple of times and the other kicker kept kicking it in the end zone,” Davis said.
Davis, however, noted Williams, Chaney and Kleckley could be dangerous.
“Those kids can score from anywhere on the field,” he said.
Davis said his team came away “more determined" from its tie with a good Lamar County team last week.
“They understand we played well at times last week, but we still have a lot of work to do,” he said. “They also know we have a tough game this week against a very talented ball club.”