Benjamin Russell heads to Wetumpka tonight for a region game against the Indians.
It’s an important contest for the Wildcats as they look toward the coveted post-season playoffs.
“If we beat Wetumpka, we’ll be the No. 2 seed in the region,” said Benjamin Russell head coach Danny Horn. “If they beat us and Helena beats Chelsea, then we’re out. But if Chelsea beats Helena, we’re in regardless of what happens.”
In the region, both teams have a season record of 3-2. However, Wetumpka is 7-2 overall while Benjamin Russell is 3-5. Both teams are also looking to rebound from losses last week. The Wildcats fell to Helena 35-24, while Wetumpka was edged out by Opelika 38-37.
To defeat Wetumpka, the Wildcats will have to bring their A-game.
“Wetumpka, they’re a very, very good team,” Horn said. “They’ve got good athletes. This same group has been playing together since the ninth grade and most of them are juniors. They’ve got possibility and they are well coached.”
All of that adds up to a well-executing team.
“Offensively, I think they’re one of the highest-scoring teams in 6A this year,” Horn said. “They scored 36 points against Opelika. If you score 36 points against Opelika this year, you’ve got a pretty good offense. The way you beat Opelika is to match them athlete to athlete, and Wetumpka is one of the few teams around here that can match them from an athletic standpoint.”
Indians quarterback Jadarious Martin leads the well-oiled Wetumpka machine.
“He can run,” Horn said, “and they’ve got so many weapons in the backfield.”
That includes running backs Kavosiey Smoke and DeAndre Williams, who each scored 80-yard touchdown returns last week.
“They’re both 215 and they can run,” Horn said.
The young Wildcats spent this week striving to rise to tonight’s challenge.
“It’s hard to emulate speed in practice,” Horn said. “What we’ve got to be able to do is to tackle out on the field. We’ve just got to try to slow them down the best we can.”
However, the Wildcats will have to improve over past performances.
“We’ve got to be more physical,” he said. “We’re just not tough enough mentally or physically.”
Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Hohenberg Field.
Cougars seeking homecoming region win
When the Central Coosa Cougars step onto the field in their regional matchup against Southside-Selma tonight, they’ll be putting everything on the line. After all, quite a lot rests on the game.
“It’s homecoming, it’s our seniors’ last homecoming, it’s a home game, it’s a region game,” said Central Coosa head coach Barry Simmons.
The face off is also an important cog in the machine of what determines whether one or both of tonight’s opponents get to take part in the post-season playoffs.
“We must win tonight,” Simmons said. “It’s a playoff game before the playoffs. There’s no scenario out there where we lose and we’re still in.”
Central Coosa comes into tonight’s contest with a season record of 4-4 overall and 2-3 in the region after last week’s 39-22 loss to Montgomery Academy. Meanwhile Southside is basking in the glow of last week’s 44-16 win over Haynes Central.
So while the Cougars are looking to rally with a W of their own, they’re also aiming to tie things up in the region with Southside.
But besting the Panthers won’t be an easy task for Central Coosa.
“They’re a very athletic team,” Simmons said. “They’re big and they have some of the best athletes in the region”
That includes senior wide receiver DeQuan Johnson.
“He’s as good as we’ve seen all year,” Simmons said, adding that Johnson is often placed anywhere from quarterback to slot. “We have to locate him at all times. They have him all over the field, and they play him in every single play.”
Simmons is also looking to slow down Panthers junior wide receiver Keshawn Arrington, and quarterbacks Malik Johnson and Gneil Johnson, whose arm is one to contend with.
Southside senior running back Christopher Edwards will be a force to control, as well.
“That running back’s a big guy,” Simmons said.
To come out on top tonight, Central Coosa needs to stay focused.
“We’ve got to play some sound football,” Simmons said. “We have to have intensity.
That means staying sharp on offense and preventing the Panthers from scoring.
“Defensively we’ve got to line up correctly,” Simmons said, “and create some turnovers.”
This would also be the best time for the oldest Cougars to lead the team through all four quarters.
“We need our seniors to step up and be seniors,” Simmons said.
Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Keith Bullard Stadium with the homecoming court announced at halftime.
Lyman Ward Rangers close season at home
The Lyman Ward Rangers end their 2016 season still in search of their first win tonight. They play the Alabaster-based Evangel Christian in their final home game.
The Rangers will have a tough time of it as the Lightning have a season record of 8-1 overall and 3-0 in the region.
Kickoff of the region game is at 6:30 p.m. at Ranger Stadium.