Generals prep for PanthersPublished 9:57am Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Horseshoe Bend High School is back in the state playoffs for the first time since 2010 as the No. 3 seed out of Class 2A Region 5.
The Generals (8-2) will take to the road in the first round against the Region 6 No. 2 seed Walter Wellborn (8-2) in Anniston Friday.
The end of the regular season marks the best season in HBHS history at an 8-2 mark as they will hope that the gauntlet of Region 5 play can play to their strength in the Class 2A state playoffs.
Below are the keys to the game Friday night for Horseshoe Bend:
Battle between offenses
The Walter Wellborn offense has posted over 42 points in six of their 10 games this season, including 60 points vs. Vincent, 73 against Victory Christian and 70 vs. Pleasant Valley two weeks ago in Region play.
Horseshoe Bend has continually posted some of the top offensive numbers in Class 2A this season averaging 38 points per game this season.
Senior tailback Cory Battle has ran for nearly 1,400 yards and 18 touchdowns so far for HBHS, while his classmate and quarterback Chase Cheaney has accounted for 19 total touchdowns and over 1,700 yards passing.
Horseshoe Bend averages 436 yards per game offensively.
Both Horseshoe Bend and Walter Wellborn fans should expect a lot of points from both teams on the scoreboard in this No. 2 seed vs. No. 3 seed match-up.
“We have our work cut out for us offensively and defensively,” HBHS head coach Jason Franklin said.
“(Wellborn) can certainly put up some points and we’ll have to execute.”
HBHS defense making stops
With the high-powered offense of Walter Wellborn, the Generals will have to come up big defensively to help keep the Panthers off the scoreboard in front of a home state playoff crowd in Anniston.
The Generals have the top tackler in the local area in senior Luke Holt, who has over 130 tackles to lead the HBHS defense heading into the playoffs.
Along with Holt, senior defensive back Corey Glenn leads the local area in interceptions on the season with seven, and defensive lineman Damien Milliner and Dalton Taunton are both tops in the area in sacks with six on the season.
As previously mentioned, the Generals will put up some points, but HBHS can’t rely solely on offense to win the game Friday night and will need big plays on the defensive side of the ball.
“I think our defensive numbers can be deceiving,” said Franklin, whose defense held Central-Coosa scoreless last week.
“In some games this season, we’ve put in some reserves to help build some depth and hopefully we see that work to our advantage (Friday night).
“I know our coaching staff will have the defense ready.”
Staying within the moment
Horseshoe Bend is back in the Class 2A playoffs after failing to make it last season and have fought their way to the best season in school history.
One of the keys Friday night will be for the Generals to stay within themselves with the bright lights of the first round of the state playoffs and play a balanced game of football that their fans and coaches know that they are capable of playing.
Wellborn has made the state playoffs every season since 2009 and are dropping down from Class 3A last season and have the edge in playoff experience as well as the home field advantage.
“I told the guys when we met (Sunday) afternoon that they are guaranteed only one week from here on out and they can either do what they need to in order to move on or pack up and go home,” Franklin said.
“That is the way we are approaching it and we know that we’ll need to be ready for a good Wellborn team.”