The Athens Review
The Malakoff Tigers come into Friday night’s Region II-2A Division I bi-district playoff matchup at Emory Rains High School as the favorite against Queen City Bulldogs.
When you ask fifth-year head coach Jamie Driskell about the Harris Ratings System — which is published weekly by the Athens Review, installing them as 28-point favorites to beat Queen City (6-4) — he becomes concerned.
“That bothers me and we don’t like it We love being the underdog or having an even match. We don’t want the kids to feel like they are going to have it easy. That 28 points means absolutely nothing,” Driskell said with a laugh.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
The Tigers (9-1) are currently the highest scoring team in Malakoff school history with 529 points in 10 games — and Driskell said an experienced offensive line should receive the credit.
“I think our offensive line has been a major difference and we have had good lines in the past,” Driskell said. “This particular year we are more physical up front and we don’t miss many assignments.”
Among those providing the blocking for Marcus and Damontes Dowell are Israel Chavez, Nelson Ochoa, Diego Medina, Emanuel Gonzalez, Thomas Acol-Kekauhoa and tight end Gabriel Cruces.
Driskell said they are trying to give starting quarterback Deric Greenhaw more reps and have Damontes and Marcus has been crucial since the injury to Stephan Wolfe.
“I think it is important for Damontes to get his touches,” Driskell said. “I know it is pretty tough for people to defend us when we put Damontes at quarterback and Marcus back there with him.”
Queen City comes into the contest as the No. 4-seed from District 7-2A.
They beat Redwater, 15-14, last Friday to win a tiebreaker scenario for the postseason.
“They play really hard and they have good team speed,” Driskell said. “They have played a lot of close games this year. We feel like they are better than their record because their losses have been close ones. They are going to play hard and we have got to execute when it is time to execute.”
The Bulldogs are led offensively by quarterback Drew Davenport and running back Chris Reese.
On defense, the Tigers could see a lot of safety Kendal Griffin and linebacker Chase Norman.
“They have a back that is a big kid and they run a lot of different things offensively that we will need to be on our toes for,” Driskell said. “Defensively, they run to the ball well and tackle well.”
Driskell said if they hope to face the winner of the Boyd-Van Alstyne match next week in area, two big keys must happen to put out the victory.
“I think we have to wrap up on defense,” Driskell said. “Offensively we have to execute and the lines have to win the game up front.”