That, however, is just what Creekview coach Terry Crowder is saying about the Cherokee team his Grizzlies will be hosting tonight.
“We know this is a huge challenge for us,” Crowder said. “I think Cherokee has one of the better teams they have had in years. They just completely handled Forsyth Central (during a scrimmage) and looked completely poised. They were the better football team, so it looks like we have got our hands full.”
There are reasons for Crowder to believe the Warriors are much-improved.
With Cherokee coach Josh Shaw entering his second season at the helm, his system is fully in place. Not only that, but the Warriors return a handful of key players, including junior quarterback Spencer Ashley, senior linebacker Brandon Hrouda, junior receiver Andrew Harris and junior linebacker Michael Bean.
“We have been practicing since Aug. 1,” Shaw said. “This is the only game that you have multiple weeks to get ready for. We have had a lot of time to put in and prepare for. After three, 3½ weeks, our kids are just excited to play anyone different than themselves at this point.”
The question mark in tonight’s game will be what Crowder can do with his new team. The former Chattahoochee coach is in his first season at the Grizzlies’ helm after succeeding founding coach Al Morrell.
“We don’t really have a lot on him, other than he came from Chattahoochee,” Shaw said of Crowder. “It’s not like he was (at Creekview) last year and we have a ton of film to be able to break down on them. Everybody played their scrimmage game last week and kept it pretty basic. You know there are going to be new wrinkles and new surprises that come out during the course of the season.”
What Shaw knows is that sophomore Kyle Wilkie will be quarterbacking the Grizzlies after senior Hunter Wingfield — an offseason transfer from Cherokee — went down with a knee injury over the summer.
“The seniors are really rallying around (Wilkie),” Crowder said. “They are supporting him and I couldn’t be happier, although I hate it for Hunter still. He’s still a huge part of our football team.”
If the coaches can agree on one thing, it’s that they want to give the fans a good game. Creekview edged out a 21-13 victory last year at Tommy Baker Field and went on to finish 9-2 after losing to Tucker in the first round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs.
“It’s a great rivalry,” Crowder said. “I hope this game continues on. I know the Grizzly Nation is huge. This community is excited. We are going to pack the stadium. I just know we are, and I am, excited to be a part of it.”