So it begins…Published 1:37pm Friday, November 9, 2012
We are approaching the middle of November across the state, meaning that high schools are entering the first round of the state playoffs tonight, including Class 5A No. 8 Benjamin Russell hosting LeFlore High School at the Sportplex at 7 p.m.
Below are the keys to the game between BRHS and LeFlore:
Be ready for a tested team
The Rattlers (3-7) come into tonight’s game having lost their last three games against some of the toughest teams in the state in Class 5A No. 4 Spanish Fort, Class 5A No. 7 St. Pauls and Class 6A Baker.
Although their record doesn’t jump off the page, the Rattlers can be a deceiving opponent that has played one of the tougher schedules in Class 5A this season and includes a plethora of athletes.
“To be honest, I don’t know how many games we would have won out of that Region,” said BRHS head coach Danny Horn.
“They’ve played a tough schedule and they have athletes that can hurt you from anywhere on the field.”
BRHS is coming off of their first loss of the year last week in a Class 5A top-10 battle at Homewood High School, a game that could more than likely benefit the Wildcats if they make a deep playoff run.
Bring back the defense
Benjamin Russell comes into tonight’s first round contest having not hosted a first round state playoff game since 2007 and the Wildcat defense has given up their most points this season in back-to-back quality games with 24 against Eufaula two weeks ago, and 28 last week against Homewood.
“Our focus is to stop the big play and we’ll be alright if we can do that,” said Horn, whose defense was without leading tackler Javion Banks last week.
“We’ve had some injuries, but it just gives other guys a chance to come in and step up.”
LeFlore only averages 19 points per game this season including no more than 14 points their last two contests. If the Wildcats want to reestablish their defense for the playoffs, tonight would be a good way to get going once again.
Benjamin Russell has only lost two of their last 11 home games dating back to the start of last season, their last being to Central-Phenix City in the second round of the 2011 state playoffs.
With the Wildcats being a tough team to beat in front of a large home crowd, as well as LeFlore having to travel over three hours from Mobile, Benjamin Russell has a clear advantage when the teams take the field tonight.
“We’ve had great crowds all year,” Horn added.
“We want to advance as far as we can, and it’s a big deal to play in front of our home crowd in the state playoffs.”