Photo by Christine Troyke
When Duluth visits Archer to open up the season tonight, the tasks for the two teams will both involve history, but will be dramatically different.
For the host Tigers, it will be to create history as they begin their first full season of varsity play, as well as their first season in Class AAAAA, after going 1-2 in varsity play during the school's inaugural season a year ago.
"Preparing for our first game in our first year of AAAAA football, it's an extra bit of excitement," Archer coach Andy Dyer said. "It's a big night for Archer."
It will also be a big night for Duluth, which plays its first game under new head coach Corey Jarvis.
And after winning just six games total over the last six seasons, the Wildcats (1-9 last year) are looking to put recent history behind them and create a new, winning legacy.
"Our expectations are much higher than a lot of other people's might be," Jarvis said. "We're not necessarily looking to make a statement, but we expect to go out and perform well.
"Our kids have got to learn now to win. Winning is contagious. Winning is an attitude."
Neither coach had much of a chance to get a read on his respective team during the preseason scrimmage, with both teams having those scrimmages shortened by last Friday's thunderstorms.
Still, both coaches have seen enough to know their respective teams will have their hands full, especially with offenses with similar skills.
Archer's attack, which features an experienced quarterback in Jarvis Holley, punishing back Jermaine Morris and scatback Mychael Hines, is something Jarvis is hoping to counter with a defense that returns six starters, including Super Six safety Xavier Walker and linebacker Justin Dixon.
"Their quarterback is very athletic, so we've got to contain him," Jarvis said.
"They had a couple of big plays (in the scrimmage) against Apalachee, and we've got to make some big plays of our own on defense."
Likewise, Dyer knows enough about the Wildcats to respect equally athletic quarterback Anfernee Stewart, who can also put the ball in the air to solid receivers like Alec McGehee.
But most of all, he has taken notice of the exciting new atmosphere Jarvis and his staff have created, and are hoping to match that enthusiasm.
"Coach Jarvis has really done a great job rallying the Duluth community," Dyer said. "We're obviously rallying our new community. It should make for a great night."