Fully aware of such, Tri-Cities football coach Kenneth Miller said they are trying to put that pressure on us.
Whether or not the Bulldogs are trying to live up to these expectations, they will get their first chance Friday to at least prove they are better than the 4-1 Newnan Cougars, who received two first-place votes and a total of 53 points for second place, at Drake Stadium.
“Their kids are going to be very fundamentally sound,” Miller said. “They will play hard. They got a lot of tradition. We just got to come in and do us.”
Newnan enters the contest with consecutive wins, including a 38-7 victory over Hardaway on Sept. 28.
“On defense, they will line up in the 3-5,” Miller said. “Punch those gaps. Play fast and hard down hill. And on offense, they will run the spread option and not deviate from it, and try to get ball in hands of their playmakers.”
The Bulldogs are also returning from a week off but in different fashion after a 51-14 loss to Carver-Montgomery in Alabama on Sept. 28. The setback was Tri-Cities’ second straight and was unfortunately highlighted by eight turnovers.
“We got down there and turned the ball over too much early,” Miller said. “We just never got in sync. You are never going to beat anybody like that.
“They were a high-powered team.”
As a result, Miller decided last week that the focus had to be on the team in the mirror.
“My goal was to just come in and work on Tri-Cities,” he said. “We didn’t focus on nothing but Tri-Cities. I’m thinking we are going to get this thing turned around going into the region.”
This will be the third meeting between these teams and first since 2007, when Newnan won 35-6.
“Hopefully, we can come out and establish what we really want to establish,” Miller said. “We’ve been having a problem with the identity of the team but I’m thinking we got that fixed.”
In other region action, 4-1 Langston Hughes hosts 1-4 Douglas County and the winless Westlake Lions host 1-4 East Coweta.