1003-Reel pre.jpg

Lizi Arbogast / The Outlook Reeltown's Johnny Brown (5) and the Rebel offense will look to continue its domination against Thorsby on Friday. The Rebels are averaging 33.8 points per game this season.

It’s no time for Reeltown’s football team to be complacent.

The Rebels are off to their best start since 1991. They just knocked off a top-two ranked opponent a week ago. And they have already secured a playoff spot.

But none of that means a thing as Reeltown turns its sights back on Class 2A Region 4 play and hits the road for Thorsby on Friday.

“I told our guys, ‘You by far just played the best game — most complete game — of the year, and we have a great opportunity to build off that,’” Reeltown coach Matt Johnson said. “But I also said, ‘Or you can go right back and get complacent and it’ll flip the whole script.’”

If there’s one thing Johnson will be certain of, though, it’s he’ll do everything in his power not to look ahead. A win over Thorsby would virtually guarantee another region title and the Rebels would be potentially staring down an undefeated season, but they haven’t talked about either of those things.

Thorsby (3-3, 2-1) does seem to be having a down year after last season’s success and it’s never defeated Reeltown in five meetings, but Thorsby boasts plenty of athletes.

Thorsby is averaging more than 24 points per game and has scored at least 16 in every game except a shutout loss against Isabella a week ago.

“They mix it up really good,” Johnson said. “They’ve got an athletic quarterback (Brody Barnett); he’s a tough runner and he’s athletic. He’s a lot more in their run game.”

Barnett has plenty of weapons around him. Leading the run game are Adam Smith and Jacob Lockhart, and Michael Sellers is a 6-foot-5, 200-pound receiver. Brent Jones and Tucker Patterson have also proved to be offensive threats. Plus, Johnson said Thorsby boasts a lot of speed up front including a 340-pound, 6-foot-3 lineman, Christopher Arledge who plays on both sides of the ball.

Defensively, Thorsby is hard to predict because it plays extremely multiple. Johnson said it could run the gamut in what front it shows, so it’s tough to prepare. But with how much pressure Thorsby brings, Johnson is expecting something similar to what Maplesville gave the Rebels: feast or famine.

“They bring a lot of pressure and fly around, and they’re going to hit us behind the line sometimes,” Johnson said. “But I think if we can find the seam, we can turn it into a big play. That’s what it’s going to come down to. We’ve got to keep chucking at it offensively.”

Reeltown certainly has the offensive weapons to take down any defense as it showed that last week against the Red Devils. Cameron Faison had one of his most successful running games, especially physically; he broke several tackles on the way to a pair of touchdowns. Tre Tre Hughley also looks stronger and stronger each week on the ground, and when in doubt, the Rebels always can throw it to Eric Shaw.

Rebel quarterback Iverson Hooks went down at the end of the first half last week with a concussion and although he cleared protocol, Johnson said Hooks will be day-to-day and will likely be a game-time decision. But backup Logan Hunt stepped in extremely well, so the Rebels didn’t miss a beat.

But they certainly can’t overlook Thorsby despite its lackluster record.

“We’ve gotta come out and play like we did last week or else it’ll be a battle,” Johnson said.

Lizi Arbogast is the sports editor at Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc.