The Skipstone Academy Warriors keep making history this season.
A week after playing their first home game ever on their brand new field, the Warriors will now host their first-ever game against a crosstown rival this Friday, taking on the Faith Christian Academy Lions at 7:30 p.m. at Skipstone.
FCA (3-3, 3-1) is coming off a dramatic 30-27 win over Lafayette to hold onto second place in the ICSGA South, while Skipstone was beaten 41-8 by Heritage Christian to fall to 0-4, 0-3 South.
A mere six miles separates the two schools and both teams have several things in common. They are in the same subregion, some of the players on both teams know each other, both teams aren't big in numbers and neither team has been playing 8-man football for long — this is Skipstone’s first year fielding a team and FCA has only been around for two seasons.
Despite the fact that Skipstone has had big losses and FCA is the more experienced team, FCA head coach Jim McClelland isn’t taking Skipstone lightly.
“I know what it’s like to field a first-year team with several players who didn't know how to play,” McClelland said. “We got some of our wins last year because teams doubted us and took us lightly. I’m taking this game against Skipstone very serious.”
Warriors head coach Bob Cupp said FCA is just another game on the schedule and is focused on getting his guys to start faster. Skipstone was down 41-0 at the half against Heritage.
“We need more intensity at the start of the game for sure,” he said. “We just have to keep getting better at following our assignments. I see improvement, but we’ve got to get better.”
Cupp did acknowledge that he was impressed with FCA's come-from-behind victory over Lafayette, a team that beat Skipstone 54-6 on Aug. 28.
"That was a good win for them, beating Lafayette last Friday," he said. "We will definitely be in for a battle. Faith Christian is a good team."
McClelland said he’s hoping his Lions team will play smarter football this Friday. The Lions average seven penalties per game and had a crucial unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that gave Lafayette great field position.
"We've got to cut down on the mental mistakes we've been making,"McClelland said. "We can't keep making mistakes like that."
This is a pivotal game for both teams. An FCA win would give the Lions a 4-1 record in the South region and put them on the cusp of a spot in the ICSGA playoffs.
As for Skipstone, the Warriors would have to win all three of their South games left (FCA, CrossPointe and Twiggs Academy) and hope Lafayette and Heritage Christian lose their remaining two South games in order to have a playoff shot. If Lafayette, Heritage and Skipstone finish with identical 3-3 South records, Skipstone is out because it lost to both teams.
Both teams will have to make injury adjustments for Friday's game: FCA will be without quarterback/running back Brandon Ray (broken toe) and Skipstone’s Josh Kilcrease broke his fibula against Heritage Christian and is out for the year.