By Zach Shugan
ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Entering Friday night, crosstown rivals Alpharetta and Chattahoochee had met on the gridiron 11 times since the schools opened. This, however, would be the first time they played each other to kick off the regular season.
The juices were flowing, to say the least. And with no capacity restrictions, the stands were packed (on both sides) for the first time in almost two years to witness the Raiders shut out the Cougars, 35-0.
“Anytime you can win your opener and get a shutout is always positive,” Alpharetta head coach Jason Kervin said. “There’s obviously a lot to build on there.”
Junior quarterback Ben Guthrie had an efficient night passing the ball, completing 14 of 17 pass attempts for 181 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Both touchdowns went to senior wide receiver Matteo Carriere, who finished with three receptions for 84 yards.
Alpharetta took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter after scoring on its first two drives. On the game’s opening drive, Guthrie flicked a screen pass to Carriere, who ran untouched down the sideline 44 yards for a touchdown. Junior running back Jake Gil scored his first of two touchdowns on the Raiders’ next drive, and Cooper West hit the extra point to put them up 14-0.
Alpharetta scored once more before halftime, as Gil punched it in from three yards out with 1:16 left in the second quarter.
Guthrie and Carriere connected for another score on the Raiders’ first drive of the second half. Guthrie took a snap out shotgun at Chattahoochee’s 33-yard line and tossed a rainbow to Carriere, who extended his arms and reeled in his second touchdown of the night.
Alex Renken put the finishing touch on the Raiders’ scoring for the night, taking his second handoff of the night 51 yards for a touchdown with 8:32 remaining in the game.
Alpharetta will travel to Alabama next week to take on one of high school football’s most-storied programs: Hoover High School. Hoover has won 11 state titles since 2000 and was the focus of MTV’s hit show “Two-A-Days” from 2006-07.
Oh, and it just so happens to be the former home of Kervin and Alpharetta defensive coordinator Devon Earl. Kervin coached at Hoover for 12 years as an assistant and offensive coordinator prior to coming to Alpharetta in 2020, and Earl graduated from the school in 2013.
Coincidentally, next week Chattahoochee head coach Mike Malone will be taking on a team he used to coach (and play) for in the Gainesville Red Elephants. Gainesville lost 26-10 at the hands of Johns Creek in its season opener, so one team will walk away from Chattahoochee next Friday night with its first win of the season.