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Crisp County looks to defend the Cougar Den in the elite eight

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 5:49 PM EST
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CORDELE, Ga. (WALB) - It’s an elite eight rematch from a year ago. The Crisp County Cougars are hosting the Cedar Grove Saints.

A rivalry that’s taken on new life after the Saints’ head coach Miguel Patrick switched sidelines to become the Cougars head coach. Now, Coach Patrick and company look to defend the Cougar Den as they prepare for the Saints to “march in.”

“Man, it’s going to be special. It’s going to be fun. I know all of those guys, I know all of the coaches on that staff. And I know every player that is going to touch the field Friday night.” Patrick said.

In Coach Patrick’s first season with the Saints, he led Cedar Grove to region and state championships.

2020 marked his second and final season. Now, he’ll face his former team wearing their rival’s colors.

“It’s really going to be fun. Those guys know how to compete for the right way and so do we. So I’m just looking forward to a great football game,” said Patrick.

If you ask senior wideout Javari Royal, the first goal for Crisp County is to pack the stands and defend the Cougar Den for the third time this postseason.

Royal said, “It feels great because we have our fans behind us and we just love that support every Friday we have a home game.”

As they get locked in for the Saint, Royal added, “The mindset we have right now is to remain hungry and humble. Stay focused and get mentally prepared for this game Friday night.”

This offense is powered by the run game, by players like Marquise Palmer and Semaj Chatfield. But Coach Patrick said they can’t be one-dimensional going up against Cedar Grove.

Patrick said, “From there we’re going to try to get the ball in our playmakers’ hands, Trae Walker, AJ Brown, Eric Ivory, and we’re going to let those guys make plays for us.”

“It feels good still being around my teammates, having fun, just out here making plays,” Royal added.

On the defensive side, they’re going to have to do something not many teams have accomplished against the Saints. Slowing down an offense that’s averaging 45 points a game.

“We got our work cut out for us but I think we have a solid enough defense that we can attempt to slow them down. But we can’t let them live off big plays and that’s what we’re going to try and limit. Their big-play capability,” said Patrick.

The road to Atlanta for Crisp County continues Friday night as they take on Cedar Grove.

Kick-off is slated for 7:30 p.m...

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