“It’s a big game because it’s homecoming but also because we can really throw a monkey wrench in subregion play by winning this game and forcing a three-way tie with us, North Clayton and Upson-Lee to have an opportunity to go into the Griffin game (next week) with something meaningful — besides bragging rights — to play for.,” said second-year Spalding head coach Nick Davis.
“The kids understand that and the coaches understand that,” added Davis.
North Clayton is coming off a 42-20 loss to No. 9 state-ranked Griffin — Spalding’s crosstown rival — last week at Memorial Stadium during GHS’s homecoming, while Spalding is coming off a 32-7 loss to No. 7 state-ranked Jonesboro at Tara Stadium.
Furthermore, both teams have four common opponents this season: Locust Grove, Riverdale, Jonesboro and Upson-Lee. While each were swept by Locust Grove, Riverdale and Jonesboro — Spalding 14-0, 21-0 and 32-7, respectively and North Clayton 19-12, 21-0 and 26-8, respectively — they split with Upson-Lee, the Eagles winning the aforementioned game 19-14 and the Jags losing 31-10.
“They just let some games slip away they should have won early on — about like us — and fell into a funk,” Davis said of the Eagles. “Like I told our players and coaches, ‘If you look at them from a physical and athletic standpoint, they are probably one of the toughest teams on our side of the region.’”
Nonetheless, Spalding, which is averaging a subregion-low 8 ppg for, catches a break tonight against a North Clayton team yielding a subregion-worst 25 ppg against. On the other side of the ball, North Clayton is averaging 14 ppg for while Spalding is allowing 19 ppg against.
Davis expects nothing but an all-out battle against the Eagles.
“They are a typical North Clayton team, very aggressive, fast and athletic on defense and on offense they have great skilled kids and once they get going they’re tough to stop and they are solid in the kicking game,” said Davis. “Coach (Max) Wiltz and his staff do an outstanding job. They typically play hard.”
Spalding, meanwhile, is also looking to break out of its doldrums in time to get back the homecoming magic it enjoyed between 2002 and 2010 when it won six homecoming games — including three in a row from 2008-2010 — and tied another. Last year’s 20-7 homecoming loss to Eastside-Covington broke the streak and left the Jags sporting a 6-3-1 homecoming record since 2002, the year the team started playing a full varsity, playoff-eligible schedule.
REGION 4-AAAA STANDINGS
School |Overall |Region |PF |PA
Stockbridge |6-1-0 |2-0 |22 |12
Woodland-Stock. |2-5-0 |1-1 |20 |27
Locust Grove |5-2-0 |1-1 |25 |18
Dutchtown |5-3-0 |1-2 |32 |23
E. Landing |1-7-0 |1-2 |25 |39
School |Overall |Region |PF |PA
Griffin |6-1-0 |3-0 |36 |18
Riverdale |6-2-0 |3-1 |24 |20
Jonesboro |6-1-0 |2-1 |33 |15
Upson-Lee |3-4-0 |1-2 |26 |24
N. Clayton |1-7-0 |1-3 |14 |25
Spalding |1-5-1 |0-3 |8 |19
THIS WEEK’S GAMES
Griffin @ Upson-Lee
No. Clayton @ Spalding
Woodland @ Stockbridge
Locust Grove @ E. Landing
Jonesboro @ Riverdale (Saturday)
LAST WEEK’S GAMES
Griffin 42, No. Clayton 20
Jonesboro 32, Spalding 7
Riverdale 36, Upson-Lee 23
Stockbridge 45, Dutchtown 19
E. Landing 30, Woodland 28
Bye: Locust Grove