Do or die timePublished 11:28am Friday, November 8, 2013
The Benjamin Russell Wildcats ended their regular season with a 9-1 record – all wins consecutive – their second-straight region title and the No. 3 ranking in Class 5A.
According to coach Danny Horn, all of these things no longer matter.
“It’s like I told the team, we had a good regular season, but it’s over with now,” Horn said. “It’s time to start a new season. Everybody is 0-0 now, and you have to forget about what you’ve done up to now and work to get better in the future. This is what you work for – you work to get to the playoffs and to have a chance to win a state championship. It’s a one-game season now, so we have to be at our best.”
The Wildcats will begin their second season when they host Chilton County (5-5, 4-3 in region) in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.
The teams are familiar adversaries, as BRHS bounced Chilton County out of the playoffs last season, winning a 24-7 decision.
“They play good defense, and they had a really good defense last year,” Horn said. “Offensively, they’re pretty wide open. They’re a solid team and a very good first-round opponent. Last year, I think we came out and laid an egg in the first round. We didn’t play well. Hopefully it’s a lesson learned, and we’ll be ready to come out and play.”
In a de facto tune-up game, BRHS was able to chalk up a decisive – albeit sloppy – 28-7 win over Class 5A No. 8 Homewood.
Horn said the team has worked to clean up the penalties and lack of a passing game that was prevalent in that contest.
He added that the Wildcats’ running game and defense has played well to close the season.
“With the penalties, you have to know what you can and can’t do. When you get into the playoffs, you need to be able to do two things: You have to be able to run the ball and stop the run,” Horn said. “Last week, we were able to do both. Some nights, your passing game won’t be there, but I’m not too worried about it. I think we’ll be alright.”
Chilton County has threats at the wideout position that could pose problems for the Wildcats’ defense.
However, Horn said the team is well-aware of the outside threats.
“We know what they’ve got,” Horn said. “We’ve seen the film. We have to focus on doing our jobs. We have to focus on seeing our keys and reacting to the ball. Hopefully we’ll be able to do that.”
Benjamin Russell and Chilton County will kick off at 7 p.m. Friday from the Charles E. Bailey Sportplex.
The winner of this contest will face the winner of the Demopolis vs. St. Paul opening-round matchup in the second round of the playoffs.