TO PUT it mildly, East Jackson has some heavy lifting to do upon its return from an off week.
The Eagles (3-3, 1-2) travel to Bogart this week to face a North Oconee team that’s putting up points at a staggering pace — 42.7 a contest — in getting off to a 6-0 start.
“North Oconee has probably as many weapons as anybody we’ve seen in a long time,” East Jackson coach Brian Smith said. “Offensively they are really strong. It’s amazing how good they are — quarterback, running back, receiver, OL. They’re as strong as anybody we’ve seen obviously.”
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday.
North Oconee, which went 9-2 a year ago, is again one of the marquee teams in the region, led by quarterback Blake Gaubert, tailbacks Kwan Bryant and David Pinkerton and Nick Colvin who plays both receiver and quarterback.
“That’s the amazing thing you see when you watch them — so many weapons,” Smith said.
The Titans are fresh off a 56-0 throttling of Jackson County. It was the third shutout of the season from a North Oconee defense that is equally as dominant as its offense.
“They play as hard as anybody we’ve seen all year,” Smith said of the Titan defense. “They are probably overshadowed a little bit by their offense but really shouldn’t be because they’ve played well all year.”
North Oconee’s defense shows a few different looks than a typical high school defense, which means more practice and film review for the East Jackson offense.
“They do some things that are a little different,” Smith said. “They tilt their nose (guard) a little bit and they play some games and stunt a little more than most people we see.”
The Titans — who beat East Jackson 30-0 last year — again finds themselves in a subregion race with Elbert County as both have identical 6-0 and 3-0 records in overall and subregion play.
Meanwhile, East Jackson is in the midst of a losing skid, dropping its second-straight contest Sept. 30 when it lost to Hart County 30-10. But the Eagles should be well-rested following an off night this past Friday and better studied with extra time to scout and breakdown film on the Titans.
“We’ve had a chance to look at them a little bit,” Smith said. “Hopefully, it shows a little bit what we’ve done and the time we’ve spent working with kids fundamentally and working on what they do.”
And Smith said it’s going to require everything the Eagles can muster and then some to be successful Friday.
“Their weapons are unbelievable right now,” Smith said. “They are. Somebody is going to have to play really well to beat them, and that’s what our goal has to be. We can’t make mistakes. We’re going to have to play a great ball game. Not just a good ball game, a great ball game, an almost perfect ball game.”
The North Oconee game starts a brutal stretch for the Eagles which will see them play the Titans, Elbert County and Jefferson, which are a combined 17-1.
“It’s just going to be boom, boom, boom, one after the other, three in a row,” Smith “Our kids, they better be ready to play, because if not, it could be ugly fast in all three of those games. We’ve kind of preached that to them all year with the people we play.”