Archived Story

Proving ground

Published 6:52pm Thursday, October 31, 2013

For Benjamin Russell, it’s time to serve notice to some of the top teams in Class 5A.
For the majority of the season, the Class 5A No. 5 Wildcats have rolled through its fellow 5A foes in dominating fashion.
With Class 5A No. 4 and bitter rival Homewood coming to town, BRHS football coach Danny Horn said this regular-season finale will be the wire-to-wire challenge that the Wildcats have needed since its season-opener at Opelika.
“They’ve been in the same situation that we have,” Horn said of Homewood. “They haven’t played four quarters either. But we’ll find out Friday night. I think we’re going to be ready.”
Horn said the Wildcats and Patriots are virtually mirror images of each other, although he said he felt that Homewood focuses a little bit more on the run.
That committement to the running game was apparent in BRHS’ 28-21 loss to Homewood last season, where the Patriots ran for more than 200 yards in the contest.
“Our teams are very, very similar,” Horn said. “On both sides of the line, I think we’re about even size-wise, but I think we’re physically stronger. Last year, they dominated the line of scrimmiage, and we didn’t run the ball at all. I think we’re better on offense than we were last year. The key is that we’re going to have to stop them from running, and we have to be able to run the football. I think that will be the tale of the game.”
Horn said he is confident in BRHS runners LaBrenikin Johnson and Ellis Holloway’s ability to produce on the ground versus the Patriots.
“LaBrenikin is coming along,” Horn said. “Earlier this year, I felt he was dancing too much. But now he understands that he has to be a ‘one cut and go’ runner. Ellis is coming around as well, and I wish he had one more year with us.”
With both teams coming into the contest with 8-1 records, a top-5 ranking in Class 5A and region championships, Horn said that this game can serve as a measuring stick for Wildcats.
BRHS and Homewood could potentially play each other again in the playoffs, and Horn said this game was the time for the Wildcats to show what they are made of.
“I think this is a game of pride,” Horn said. “If you can’t get up for this game, then something’s wrong. It’s a chance to show that we’ve got a pretty good team, too. I think this is a statement game where we can come out and prove that we belong with the best and that we can beat the best. I’ve told the kids that we’ve got this game coming up, and then we’ve got the playoffs. And from here on out, we’re going to see teams like Homewood, so we better get used to it.”
BRHS and Homewood kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday from the Charles E. Bailey Sportplex.