Eric Rawls (50) protects running back Jamaal Cole (32) during a game earlier this season.
Brookwood at Lassiter
Brookwood Broncos (8-AAAAAA)
Coach: Mark Crews
Last week: Lost to Grayson 42-13
Lassiter Trojans (5-AAAAAA)
Coach: Jep Irwin
Last week: Beat Etowah 34-6
When: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Last meeting: Lassiter won 14-6 last year
Directions to Lassiter High School: Jimmy Carter Boulevard to Holcomb Bridge Road, take left on Sandy Plains Road. Three miles ahead, make a right on Shallowford Road. School is on the right.
Brookwood football coach Mark Crews already knew his team was facing a monumental challenge when it drew Lassiter in the first round of the Class AAAAAA state playoffs.
After all, the No. 1 state-ranked Trojans (10-0) boast one of Georgia's most prolific offenses, averaging 36.7 points per game and led by Missouri-bound quarterback Eddie Printz.
But considering all the injuries the Brookwood defense has endured over the last half of the regular season, the task has only gotten tougher as they travel to Frank Fillmann Stadium tonight at 7:30 for tonight's playoff opener.
"We just got Josh Moore back last week," Crews said. "But there are several others like (Afolabi) Laguda, (Xxavier) Robertson or Cody Gober, that it doesn't look like we'll be getting back (this week).
"(Lassiter has) got a good football team, and ... their quarterback is an awfully talented kid. It's the same old formula. You just do the best you can to get your kids in position to make plays."
Of course, Crews points out that no matter how many healthy bodies the Broncos (6-4) have, there is another way to slow down even a high-powered attack Lassiter has with Printz (189-296-6, 2,621 yds., 26 TDs) and his favorite targets Willie Police (67 rec., 1,008 yds., 15 TDs), Blake Wilson (36-474, 1 TD) and Ryan Jenkins (22-442, 5 TDs).
That is to simply not let the Trojans have the ball.
"Hopefully, we'll be able to play well enough on offense to keep them on the sidelines a little," Crews said. "I think our offensive line is going to be tested. So, if we're going to control the ball and the clock, we've got to get first downs."
Brookwood definitely has weapons on offense that can give it a fighting chance to either try to grind out the clock and keep the Trojans on the sidelines or to come up with quick-strike answers should the game turn into a shootout.
The Broncos have shown plenty of balance throughout the season behind the running of Jamaal Cole (168 car., 990 yds., 13 TDs, 20 rec., 410 yds., 3 TDs), and the passing game led by Zach Moon (79-166-7, 1,603 yds., 15 TDs) and Ky Priester (46-930, 10 TDs).
But even here, injuries to key components like Josh Brown -- who contributes both on offense (80-658, 5 TDs rushing, 8-118, 1 TD receiving) and defense (20 tackles, 1 INT) -- could be a factor after he twisted an ankle late during last week's loss to Grayson.
"Josh Brown didn't play much in the second half," Crews said. "He's a really big part of our offense, so hopefully he'll be able to go."