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Cliff Williams / The Outlook Horseshoe Bend's Holt Tidwell (13) will return at quarterback tonight after missing an injury last week due to injury.

So much of football is about knowing your responsibilities and sticking to them. It’s a game where if you try to do too much, it can quickly get you into trouble.

This week, that’s going to be Horseshoe Bend’s focus as it heads to Thorsby to take on its first Class 2A Region 4 game.

“We have guys that wanna win so bad, they worry about what everybody else is doing instead of worry about what they’re doing,” HBS coach Jeremy Phillips said. “I think that’s something we’re going to improve on this week.”

That’s going to be especially key against Thorsby as the Rebels’ biggest offensive weapon has been Horseshoe Bend’s biggest struggle: The big play.

Led by quarterback Brody Barnett, Thorsby (1-1) has the ability to score a lot and in bunches. It’s coming off a 44-16 defeat of Verbena but even in its loss to Jemison, Thorsby still managed to put up 20 points.

“If we come out and play disciplined football, we’re going to have a chance to win,” Phillips said. “But the key is we gotta be disciplined and not give up the big play. That’s what their offense is built on is the big play.” 

According to Phillips, the Generals (0-2) are preparing for a spread offense and the Rebels run a lot of empty sets with motion. Barnett is a dual-threat quarterback and he has plenty of senior experience to target at wide receiver.

“(Barnett) will try to get outside the pocket and either run it or pass it,” Phillips said. “They run different crossing routes to try to get the secondary confused.”

Typically, Thorsby runs a 4-3 defense but Phillips is expecting the Rebels to stack the box against Horseshoe Bend and put six men on the line of scrimmage. He said he’s going to be especially wary of nose guard Christopher Arledge, a 6-foot-2, 340-pound defensive lineman who “tries to plug up a lot of holes.”

For the Generals, the biggest thing will be sticking to their assignments and establishing a run game. If they can get some drives going like they had against Dadeville in the second quarter of the season opener, they should be in good shape.

“We need to get a little mean streak about us and decided we’re going to blow people off the ball; that’s how our offense is built,” Phillips said. “If everybody executes, you’re going to get 5 or 6 yards every play, but if one person messes up, it messes up the whole thing. Everybody has to do their job.”

Holt Tidwell will return at quarterback for HBS, but Johnny Baker who started on the defensive line last week will be out. Lane Freeman, Aubrey Hill and Wes Young will rotate in his spot.

Levi Hadway will continue to start at fullback in place of Trent Cotney, who is still recovering from a ligament injury.

“Hadway started at middle linebacker and fullback for us and he did well in both,” Phillips said. “He’s a solid player and he never came off the field. He also punted for us and he did a good job with that. He did a lot of good things for us.” 

Hadway finished with eight tackles defensively and 40 rushing yards offensively.

Phillips is also hoping freshmen Jacob Turner at defensive end and Luke Jones at safety continue to have strong performances despite their age.

“They’re getting their feet put to the fire and they are stepping up,” Phillips said. “As a ninth grader, it’s tough to come in and play at a varsity level. It takes a special kind of kid to be able to do it. They’re really taking the coaching and doing what we’re asking them to do. I think it’s going to pay off in the long run that they’re playing now.” 

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