Generals focusing on execution as Wadley loomsPublished 10:38am Tuesday, August 26, 2014
In Horseshoe Bend’s final dress rehearsal before their season opener versus Wadley, coach Jason Franklin came away displeased.
During a varsity/junior varsity jamboree against Beulah last Thursday, the Generals’ offense was brought to a sputter thanks to muggy conditions.
While the varsity team was able to win its half 3-0, Franklin said he came away from the team’s “test run” with some doubts
“We didn’t move the ball like I expected. I felt like we lacked enthusiasm, and now I’m starting to question our team’s conditioning,” Franklin said. “We struggled in the heat, and I’m wondering if we’re in good enough shape to do what we’re trying to do. We were not where we needed to be; our guys were pretty gassed by the end of the first half.”
In addition, Franklin said, execution wasn’t as sharp offensively. Defensively, however, was a different story.
“We didn’t block well, we weren’t as explosive as I wanted us to be, and we couldn’t sustain drives,” he said. “Defensively, I thought we played pretty decent for it to be early in the season. We missed a few tackles and had some alignment miscues, but we got off the field on third down. We’re a little further along on that side of the ball. … we’ve got a lot of things to shore up before Thursday night.”
Waiting for the Generals on that day will be the 1A Wadley Bulldogs, who took down Central-Coosa 28-6 in jamboree action last Thursday.
With HBHS set to run the Wiing-T offense in 2014, the Generals have seen a lot of the run in preparation for the season.
As the Bulldogs employ a power run scheme, Franklin said the hope is that the Generals’ experience against a run-oriented attack will help them when Wadley arrives in New Site.
“I hope so,” Franklin said when asked if the Generals would be ready for the challenge. “We’ve looked at it, and we know they are an I-formation, downhill team. We covered a bit of the things they like to do, and we still are. Alignment-wise, we have to be sure to be where we need to be. And with every team, you have to be prepared for the little wrinkles they throw at you.”
There are also some personnel questions for the Generals entering their 2014 opener. The status of key defenders Antwan Hardnett (arm) and Jackson Sexton (strained MCL) is currently unknown.
Franklin said the team should know more about the condition of their top defensive back today.
“It’s up in the air with Antwan,” Franklin said. “The cast is off, but he hasn’t been fully released for contact, so we’ve had him in some simulated practices. He’s seeing the doctor tomorrow so we’re hoping he’ll be given the clear to go. If he’s not clear this week, he definitely will be next week. With Jackson, we just have to work him back as we can until he’s ready to go.”
Ultimately, Franklin said that scheme and possible injuries aside, the Generals will have to be mentally tough in order to better their chances of victory.
“We’re going to have to strap the pads on, come out with a good attitude and enthusiasm, throw our bodies around and not let a little heat shut us down,” Franklin said. “Whether it’s 120 degrees or 8- degrees, we have to go out and do our jobs.”
HBHS and Wadley kick off at 7 p.m. Thursday at Battle Stadium in New Site.