Once again, Reeltown has a seemingly easy matchup on the gridiron this week.
The Rebels will play host to a winless Horseshoe Bend on Friday for homecoming. And while the Generals have scored only one touchdown all season, Reeltown seems to be firing on all cylinders.
The Rebels moved up to No. 8 in Class 2A in the most recent Alabama Sports Writers Association poll, and they got off to a great start in Class 2A Region 4 action by nearly matching their school record for points scored in a 63-14 victory over Fayetteville.
Meanwhile, Horseshoe Bend (0-3, 0-1) has been shut out two games in a row and hasn’t scored since the opening half of its season opener in Dadeville.
However, all that doesn’t add up to an easy victory for the Rebels (3-0, 1-0), at least according to Reeltown coach Matt Johnson.
“I think (HBS) coach (Jeremy) Phillips is doing a great job,” Johnson said. “He’s got the right scheme in place for them to be successful. If you do take somebody who gets a little cocky and thinks they can just line up and beat these guys, they’re going to make you pay. If they’re not good enough to block you, they’re going to read you. They do a really good job at that.”
Horseshoe Bend has proven it can run its offense like a well-oiled machine. On multiple occasions, the Generals have moved downfield and come within spitting distance of the end zone, only to be thwarted in the end. They also look back fondly on their touchdown-scoring drive against Dadeville in which they took nearly 11 minutes off the clock.
“If our guys don’t show up and play fast and play hard, it could be a very frustrating game because of what they do offensively,” Johnson said. “If they are having some success moving the ball, heck, they could keep the ball for the whole quarter. That could be something extremely frustrating with them moving the ball downfield and our guys not doing their jobs.”
Holt Tidwell does a good job of running the offense at quarterback for HBS and he’s been a dual threat this season. He’s also got running backs Chandler McMath and Gavin Brazzell around him who don’t have a ton of speed but are talented at reading the field and finding holes. Phillips was also hopeful last week about the return of fullback Trent Cotney, who could make a world of difference up front.
“Any time you have a team that’s driving the ball, it’s tough on the other defense,” Phillips said. “Hopefully we can get some confidence going and maybe score a couple of touchdowns at the beginning. Then we might have a shot to make a run at it at the end.”
But Reeltown has nothing short of an arsenal to combat anything the Generals are trying to do offensively. Cameron Faison runs with such speed — as does quarterback Iverson Hooks — it’ll be extremely difficult for the Generals to catch him if he does get loose.
“I agree with that, but if defensively we don’t do what we’re supposed to do, the offense is going to be sitting over there on the sideline,” Johnson said.
Horseshoe Bend certainly doesn’t have the speed to combat Reeltown’s explosive offense, so its best weapon might be to keep the Rebel offense off the field for as long as possible. But when the Generals are forced to play defense, Phillips knows it’s going to be about staying disciplined.
“We need to tackle better,” Phillips said. “I think we’re in position a lot of times and we’re not making plays. The main thing is it comes down to individual players doing their jobs and not being worried about what everybody else is doing.”
Prior to last week’s game against Fayetteville, Johnson was worried about his team’s ability to keep its head in the game against a team it should easily defeat. But the Rebels proved early and often they were not letting their feet off the gas.
The second half was played by mostly second- and third-string players. Logan Hunt proved to be a solid option at quarterback after playing behind Hooks. Johnny Brown made a pair of highlight-worthy catches and Landon Kelly was strong at nose guard.
“Another unsung hero was Will Brooks,” Johnson said. “He didn’t play last year but he came out this year and he’s worked really hard and is in good-looking shape. He’s just in a position where he’s behind some really good players. But with our line depth diminishing, we went to him and he wanted to try it. He moved him to offensive line and he did a great job.”
That experience could prove dividends for Reeltown, which is attempting to continue to develop its depth in the hopes of a deep playoff run this postseason.
GENERALS-REBELS AT A GLANCE
Game data: Horseshoe Bend Generals at Reeltown Rebels … Class 2A Region 4 game … Tonight, 7 p.m.
Media: Follow @liziarbogast on Twitter for live updates from the game.
Teams: Horseshoe Bend is 0-3 (0-1) after a 41-0 loss to Thorsby in the first week of region play … Reeltown (3-0, 1-0) is coming off a 63-14 victory over Fayetteville.
Series: The Generals have never defeated Reeltown in 17 meetings.
Outlook prediction: Reeltown 55, Horseshoe Bend 12