Interestingly enough, the Titans will also not have the luxury of being referred to as the home team even though the field is located on their campus.
“We think it’s going to be electric and we feel that it is justified that the game is away,” Drew coach Jarrett Laws said. “Again, we are the ones who are coming to Clayton County. They are the ones who have been in Clayton County.
Laws compared the situation to that of a family.
“This is the first time we are coming to Clayton County to play a regular season football game against another Clayton County opponent,” Laws said. “I kind of like it like that because we still got to earn our way. We are still the baby of the county.
“There are three children on the north side of town,” he said. “North Clayton is the oldest and Riverdale is the big brother who we have to stand up against because we are the baby, and it’s our time to take off our pampers and see what we can do.”
Drew will also be the fresher team but may not necessarily have any type of edge since the Raiders opened their season against North Clayton last Friday.
“Riverdale has the advantage because they would’ve gotten those first-game jitters off of them,” Laws said. “Riverdale is remarkably improved from where they were a year ago, two years ago.”
Laws also believes the Raiders will be tough on both sides of the ball due to Olten Downs’ preparation.
“From an offensive standpoint, he is finding creative ways to put the ball in his playmaker’s hands and take the pressure off of his kids up front,” Downs said.
“Then, he’s got a defensive scheme where he has done a really good job of protecting Troy Wyche from being blocked. On almost every play on film we’ve seen him free to run to the football and that comes from good scheming.”
The senior linebacker Wyche has gained early interest from Georgia Tech, Indiana, Purdue and Temple.
Based off of last season’s statistics, Riverdale could be the Titans’ toughest opponent from the county this season since Forest Park, Mundy’s Mill and Mt. Zion (combined they won just six games last year) are left on the schedule, and Drew went 7-4 overall in 2011.
“Every since these kids were freshman, we told them we’re preparing you by taking you everywhere else in the state to enter the most important area in the state which is your home turf—Clayton County,” Laws said. “So these kids are prepared and understand what is at stake.”