High School Sports

Rutland, Howard set for another Bibb matchup

At the Macon Touchdown Club’s meetings, coach-speak is usually delivered with a side of humor.

Rutland head coach George Collins, addressing Monday night’s meeting as the club’s featured team of the week, had his line down pat.

“Last year, we were 2-0, and I was really smart,” Collins told the crowd at The Methodist Home for Children and Youth. “This year, we’re 0-2, and I’m not so smart.”

To be fair, Collins isn’t coaching the same Rutland team that he had a year ago. The Hurricanes lost six offensive players from last season, including four linemen and receiver Shakenneth Williams, who is now on the roster at Georgia.

After losing to Westside and Northeast, Rutland will take on its third Bibb County opponent Friday when it meets Howard at the Ed DeFore Sports Complex.

In addition to working new players into the varsity rotation, Collins and the Hurricanes are dealing with several injured players.

Rutland led at halftime against Northeast last week before the Raiders rallied in the second half for a 15-7 victory.

“Right now, we’re young and facing adversity with the injuries,” said Collins, who mentioned that Rutland’s roster is the largest in his seven seasons as the Hurricanes’ head coach. “We’ve taken a couple of bumps, but the thing is, if you do get knocked down, don’t stay down. I’m excited about our prospects.”

Howard, meanwhile, will be looking build momentum following its first win of the season, 16-8 over Central last Friday at Henderson Stadium.

The Huskies, who tied Lamar County and lost in overtime to FPD prior to beating Central, are enjoying a lot of success on defense. The front seven has been consistent in stopping the inside run all season, while the secondary is starting to prove ­itself by recording a four-interception night against Central, bumping the season total to six.

“We’re really trusting each other and know each other,” said Howard defensive tackle Greg Pertillo, who was named the Touchdown Club’s lineman of the week after recording 10 tackles -- four for loss -- against Central. “We work on (putting helmets on the ball) at practice every day. Every play, we are encouraged to run to the ball.”

It will be the final non-region game of the season for both teams. Rutland already has a GHSA Region 2-AAA game under its belt (the 49-14 loss to Westside), while Howard will open Region 2-AAAA play Sept. 26 at West Laurens after taking a bye week.

Also honored Monday were CFCA’s Seth Johnson (five touchdowns against John Hancock) as the back of the week and Westside’s Blaine Halvorson (two field goals, 4-for-4 on extra points against Harris County) as the special teams player of the week. Mercer head coach Bobby Lamb was the featured speaker.