CHULA -- Ranked second in the state of Georgia's Class AA poll, the Terrell Academy Eagles (2-0) will play the Class AAA Tiftarea Academy Panthers (0-1-1) tonight. It will be the home opener for the Panthers.
Terrell's bread-and-butter on offense this season has been the rushing game.
Behind Brian Davis (17 carries for 336 yards) and Judd Schramm (211 yards on 18 rushes), the Eagles have averaged 45.5 points in wins over Robert Toombs and Flint River.
The Terrell defense has also been outstanding. In their first two games, the Eagle defenders have allowed a grand total of minus-3 yards rushing.
Tiftarea should be a good test for the Eagles, as the Panthers have rushed for 425 yards, with junior Taylor Hammond accounting for 355 of that total.
Balancing the offense is the passing of quarterback Ric Ellis, who has thrown for 361 yards this season.
"We have a respectable offense, but they have a superb defense," Tiftarea head coach Jack Johnson said. "If they play as well as they are capable of, we could in for a long night."
While the Tiftarea offense will try to dent the Terrell defense, the Panther defense will be hard at work trying to figure out a way to slow down the Eagle rushing attack.
Paced by Davis and Schramm, Terrell has rushed for 735 yards this season. An average of 367.5 yards per contest.
That may not be good news for a Tiftarea defense that allowed Deerfield-Windsor 413 yards rushing to open the season.
However, the Panthers did show marked improvement last week against the Mount de Sales Cavaliers, allowing only 127 yards. That came a week after the Cavaliers rushed for 456 yards against Westfield.
Even with the better numbers, Johnson is still concerned. "No one has been able to slow them down yet. They are a senior-dominated team that have played together for four years and it shows."
With all of the different matchups, the Tiftarea coach is expecting a tight game.
"We are hoping we can keep it close for a half, if we can do that, we may have a chance to upset them. To keep it close, our defense will have to play a great game and our offense will have to figure out a way to minimize its mistakes."
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