Northeast and Rutland, which both lost their opening games, will try to get on track Friday night when they face off at Thompson Stadium.
“Things just didn’t work out at all for us,” said Rutland head coach George Collins, whose team fell 49-14 to Westside. “We went through all summer and spring getting ready for that first game, and it’s tough when we came out and played like we did. We had a lot of young kids playing in key spots, and Westside did a great job of exposing areas that we need to work on.
“I thought maybe we were a little farther along, but we are getting back to work this week. I still feel like we have a pretty good football team.”
Collins said the loss took a bit out of his team., which reached the GHSA Class AAAA playoffs last season after winning five games combined the two seasons before that.
Friday’s game marks the first meeting between the two programs.
“We have to come out against a very well-coached Northeast team and show that we have enough character as a football team to put the loss behind us and play a better football game Friday night,” Collins said. “Things are never quite as bad as they look.”
Collins did see some bright spots in the loss, praising Dallas Smith overall and for his blocking, and B.J Bawn, who had 13 tackles.
Northeast also had some bright spots in its loss to Southwest, with quarterback Tekorian Denson throwing for 185 yards and two touchdowns, one to Audie Farley and the other to Chris Spencer.
But the Raiders were not effective on the ground with only 64 yards.
“Obviously we have to be able to run the football to be a quality football team,” Northeast head coach Bruce Mullen said. “We only have one returning starter on the offensive line, and those other guys will need to step up and get better. I was happy with the effort last Friday, but this week’s game is very important to us, because you never want to start with two losses, especially when we are on the road for the next three games after this one.”
The Raiders lost a fourth-quarter lead last week, but Mullen was impressed with how his team responded after losing the lead.
“We drove down the field and took it in for a touchdown, but they called a penalty on us for helping our runner in the end zone,” Mullen said. “I was proud that we didn’t give up when we lost the lead, but with so many kids playing both ways, we may have been a little fatigued in the second half.”
Rutland will be another great test for us, and I am looking for this team to grow up a little.”