This week is categorically road-trip week as all area teams have away games tonight.
Benjamin Russell heads north to Calhoun County to take on Oxford, which is undefeated and ranked No. 5 in Class 6A by the Alabama Sports Writers Association.
The Wildcats go into the matchup 2-2 overall for the season and 2-1 in the region, scoring an overall average of 24.5 points per game and allowing an average of 25.8 points per game. With one more game under their belt this season than BRHS, the Yellow Jackets are 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the region.
Benjamin Russell heads into tonight’s game fresh off last week’s 34-0 loss to ASWA No. 4 ranked Opelika.
“When you play good teams and you don’t play well, you get this result,” said Wildcats head coach Danny Horn. “I mean you’re going to get beat bad. We played about as poorly as I can remember us playing in, really, many years.”
The coach pointed to mistakes across the board the Wilcats made last week.
“For whatever reason, we didn’t block nobody, we didn’t tackle nobody, we didn’t execute,” Horn said. “On the field goal we snapped the ball early, and offensively it was about the poorest effort I’ve ever been associated with.”
The coach does believe Benjamin Russell’s defense did play fairly well.
“But we still gave up the deep play on defense,” Horn said. “That’s been haunting us all year long. Defensively, we need to be a little bit more consistent.”
Opelika did execute its own good defense.
“I’ve said all along Opelika’s got the best defense I’ve seen since I’ve been here,” Horn said.
The coach said last week’s loss was not due to the Wildcats’ lack of effort. Instead, the players have been putting in the work.
“I’ve been in it long enough to know there’s going to be games like this,” Horn said. “I’ve been on the good and bad side of it. It happens.”
The Wildcats are hoping to rally tonight and put a blight on Oxford’s undefeated record. But it won’t be easy as the Yellow Jackets have scored an overall average of 37.8 points per game so far this season and only allowed an average of 12.6.
“They’re undefeated for a reason,” Horn said. “They’ve got two major college players on the team and they’ve got a lot of good players to fill in around them. “
Benjamin Russell heads into the matchup with a refined playbook in hand.
“We narrowed some plays down and made some things a little bit simpler,” Horn said. “What we need to do from an offensive standpoint is we need to get an identity. Right now we don’t have an identity on offense.”
That identity includes spending the week working to improve on both running and passing the ball.
“We’ve got to figure out what’s best for our personnel and do it,” Horn said. “We’ve concentrated a little bit more on this.”
The coach also worked on helping the Benjamin Russell players speed up on the field.
“We haven’t been going fast enough,” Horn said. “The reason is because we’ve got a lot of first-year players, and trying to grasp the offense and all that is difficult.”
But narrowing the team’s playlist down should help with both focus and speed.
“We’ve been able to go a little bit faster in practice,” Horn said. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to go a little bit faster in the game, and I think we’ll be able to function a little bit better.”
But unless this results in Benjamin Russell picking up first downs, that increased speed could work against the Wildcats.
“If you’re not picking up first downs and keeping your defense off the field, you’re going to end up tiring out your defense,” Horn said. “That’s the only setback of going fast on offense.”
The coach said support from the fans would also go a long way toward motivating the Wildcats as they head into tonight’s matchup against Oxford.
“I know it’s tough and everybody wants to win, I want to win,” Horn said. “But these kids are working hard and they deserve everybody’s support. They don’t need criticism, they need encouragement.”
Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Oxford High School Stadium.
Tigers go for third win
The Dadeville Tigers head into this week’s game against Valley fresh off a much needed win at Holtville last week.
The 51-14 triumph brings Dadeville to an overall season record of 2-3 and 1-2 in the region.
It was a victory that boiled down to execution.
“Our kids executed and their kids didn’t,” said Dadeville head coach Richard White.
Even with the win, the Tigers can still learn from last week’s game.
“We did some things right and we made some mistakes in the fourth quarter, some silly mistakes,” White said.
The Tigers, who have scored an overall average of 33.2 points per game this season and allowed an average of 32, spent this week refining their game from kicking to tackling in preparation for tomorrow’s matchup against Valley. Although the Rams are 1-4 overall and 0-3 in the region, White isn’t taking anything for granted.
“They’re a big 5A school and that’s a big deal in itself,” the coach said.
Still, the Tigers will go into the game ready to run the ball and utilize a physical defense.
“We’re going to do what we do best,” White said.
Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Ram Stadium.
Generals aim to tamethe Bulldogs
Horseshoe Bend doesn’t have far to travel this week as the Generals head to 4A Holtville to take on the Bulldogs, who have yet to win a game this season.
The Generals come into the match up with an overall season record of 2-2 and 1-2 in the region. So far this season, Horseshoe Bend has scored an overall average of 34 points per game and allowed 26.5.
As they head into tonight’s game in Holtville, the Generals are hoping to maintain the momentum from last week’s home field triumph over Ranburne by a score of 45-28. However, they’re not dwelling too much on that win.
“You can’t live in the past,” said Horseshoe Bend head coach Jason Franklin. “You’ve got to be prepared for this week.”
That includes being prepared to face the Bulldogs, who so far this season have scored an overall average of 13.5 points per game and allowed 40.8. While Holtville is 0-4 overall for the season and 0-3 in the region, the Generals aren’t taking anything for granted.
“It’s a different team we don’t know that much about,” Franklin said. “We just want to see more progress out of our backup. They had the opportunity to play some last week.”
Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium.
Cougars head to Rebel country
Central Coosa heads west to face 2A Thorsby tonight.
The Cougars go into tonight’s matchup with an overall season record of 2-2 and 1-1 in the region. Thorsby’s season record is 1-4 overall and 1-2 in the region.
So far this season, Central Coosa has scored an overall average of 31.5 points per game and allowed 30.5, while Thorsby has scored an overall average of 12.8 points per game and allowed 28.8.
The Cougars go into tonight’s game on the heels of last week’s 42-32 region win over Beulah.
“The big thing was getting another win under our belt,” said Central Coosa head coach Barry Simmons, “and everything’s better with a region win.”
Despite last week’s victory, the Cougars could have played better than they did.
“We gave up too many big plays defensively,” Simmons said. “Offensively we need to be establishing ourselves some consistency.”
Central Coosa is looking to reduce penalties, as well.
“We’ve got to clean that up,” Simmons said.
The Cougars look to bring those adjustments into tonight’s game against the Rebels.
“They’re a good football team and they do a little bit of everything,” Simmons said. “Their running back is 6 feet, 4 inches tall and he does a good job of running down the ball.”
But the Cougars have been preparing all week for the face off.
“We’re going to have to put our nose to the grindstone,” Simmons said. “If we do the little things we need to to win and continue to be as physical as we have been in practice, that’s going to show Friday night, hopefully.”
Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Susan Bentley Field.
Rangers still looking for win No. 1
Lyman Ward heads to take on Lighthouse Christian tonight.
As the Rangers are still seeking their first win this season, head coach Keith Elliott feels good about his team.
“We’re going to have to eliminate some of the turnovers,” he said.
At least one key player returns to tonight’s lineup.
“On defense we’ve got our linebacker back,” Elliott said. “We’re hoping to get one other back from injury.”
Lyman Ward and Lighthouse are both 0-3 for the season.
“Somebody’s going to win Friday night,” Elliott said. “We need a win and now is as good a time as any.”
The coach is counting on playing away to help bring that win for the Rangers.
“When we travel and are away from home, the kids are more focused,” Elliott said.
Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Lighthouse Christian.
Reeltown has open week
Reeltown is off this week. The Rebels’ next game is at Ranburne on Sept. 30. They go into the matchup 2-3 overall for the season and 2-1 overall.
Next week’s kickoff is 7 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium.