That worked for Kell's Longhorns on Friday night, as they outslugged Sprayberry 42-28 in a Region 5AAAA North collision at the Yellow Jackets' Jim Frazier Stadium.
Georgia's No. 4-ranked squad demonstrated the validity of their lofty status with a 21-0 drubbing of the Yellow Jackets in the fourth quarter after the home team had transformed a 21-14 halftime deficit into a 28-21 third-quarter lead.
"Our kids have risen to the challenge all year," said coach Derek Cook of his 9-0 (6-0 in subregion) group. "We have been training since last summer for games like this. When we get into the fourth quarter, that's our time."
Including a few plays near the end of the third period, the Longhorns piled up 170 total yards on three consecutive possessions, and their trio of touchdowns covered a span of 5 minutes, 30 seconds as Cook's offense methodically pounded the Sprayberry defense into submission.
The victory was Kell's tuneup for the team's play-in game next week at Chapel Hill with a state playoff berth on the line. Sprayberry, now 3-6 and 2-4, is not eligible for a state playoff spot but will end the season with a game next week.
Friday's showdown eventually went the Longhorns' way, but both teams refused to be bullied by the other, with numerous jarring tackles and crunching blocks registered by both combatants.
"I can't speak for Kell, but I think they were in a battle tonight," said Sprayberry coach Billy Shackelford.
"That was one hard-hitting game," Cook said. "We knew what we were up against coming in here, and maybe we got a little more than we thought was coming at us."
Perhaps the most impressive hitter of the evening was Kell backup tailback Jordan Chambers, who, according to Cook, had not carried the ball since the Longhorns' season-opening victory in the Georgia Dome.
"He's just been playing on defense because of a hamstring injury," said Cook, "but we may have to get him some more carries after tonight."
Chambers had only four carries for 43 yards, but two of them were bullish, tackle-shedding touchdown runs from 15 and 23 yards in the fourth period.
Tailback Chris Gaines barged in from 2 yards out to tie the game with 7:01 to play, and Chambers' tallies came with 5 minutes and 1:31 remaining in the game.
The frantic finish negated a fine performance by Sprayberry quarterback Corbin Jackson, who found wide receiver Justin Montgomery for a 54-yard touchdown pass to push the Jackets into a 28-21 lead with 4:06 left in the third period. That was only two minutes after Jackson directed his team to the end zone with the second-half kickoff, culminated by P.J. Stone's 5-yard run, his second touchdown of the game.
Kell quarterback Austin Petrik, yet to be intercepted this season, was "unspectacularly excellent," said Cook. "He's a great game manager."
Petrik had a pair of nine-yard touchdown runs in the first half plus a 68-yard scoring pass to Hunter Marshall as the Longhorns galloped to a 14-0 lead in the first period and 21-14 margin at intermission.
Touchdowns by Jackson and Stone kept the Jackets close in the first half.