Protect this housePublished 10:01pm Thursday, November 14, 2013
There’s an old adage that says, “there’s no place like home,” and it has held true for the Benjamin Russell Wildcats all season long.
With the St. Paul’s Saints marching into town for the team’s second-round matchup this Friday at 7 p.m., the Wildcats will look to make it 8-0 on the turf of the Charles E. Bailey Sportplex, as regardless of the result, BRHS will not play at home again in 2013.
The Wildcats (10-1) are expecting a tough challenge, as the Saints (9-2) field one of the most suffocating defenses in Class 5A.
But that’s not the only thing that the Wildcats have to counteract.
“They’re pretty good – there’s no question about it,” said BRHS coach Danny Horn. “They’ve got a complete ball team, and their defense has been stellar all year long. They do a lot of things well. They present a problem not just for us, but for anybody they would play. This is going to be a knockdown, drag-out fight, and I’m expecting a low scoring game.”
The Saints’ defense was the difference maker in their first-round win over Demopolis. Big plays from the secondary in particular stood out on the tape, according to Horn.
However, the Wildcats’ secondary has upped its game over the last few weeks. Pac-man Norris, Eric Varner and Diorte Russell have nabbed several interceptions over the past few weeks.
“For one thing, I think they’ve gained a little bit more confidence,” Horn said. “Eric has played stellar all year long, and Pac-man has picked up his play over the past couple of weeks. St. Paul’s has a good defense, but we’ve got a good defense, too.”
Against Chilton County, the Wildcats’ rushing attack found it to be tough sledding against the Tigers’ defense.
Horn said that experience is something that Benjamin Russell will have to get used to.
“I think at this stage, every team we see is going to have a good defense,” Horn said. “I didn’t think we ran the ball that well, but when I looked at the stats, it turned out that we ran for close to 200 yards so I guess it wasn’t so bad. But we’re going to have to run the ball and stop the run, and that’s the winning formula in the playoffs.”
According to Horn, this matchup could springboard the winner toward a possible run at Tuscaloosa, as he feels both teams have legitimate title aspirations.
“I think it’s a shame that of the five teams I think have a real shot to win the state championship, two of them will play tonight, and one of them is going to get eliminated,” Horn said. “We’re going to go out there and play, and hopefully it won’t be us.”