Holt Tidwell

Cliff Williams / The Outlook Wadley at Horseshoe Bend High School Football

Horseshoe Bend looks to right the wrongs of last week’s game against Victory Christian with a win against Fayetteville Friday.

With four first-half turnovers on their own side of the field, the Generals can’t help but feel like they gave the game away to the Lions, who scored on only two of the four turnovers. The good news for the Generals is even though they turned the ball over several times and trailed 13-0 at half, they came out in the second half and fought back, losing by only one point with the defense not giving up any more points.

Coach Jeremy Phillips said at practice this week the emphasis will be on taking care of the football and limiting self-inflicted mistakes.

Last season the Generals lost to the Wolves, 27-0. The loss was eerily similar to last week’s loss with turnovers on offense and missed assignments on defense. But the Generals are much improved from last year, retaining most the players and adding a year of experience to their resumés.

“We had a hard time holding onto the ball last year,” Phillips said. “We had trouble getting anything going offensively. After last week, we’ve been putting a lot of attention on protecting the ball and will be working on that at practice.”

Phillips is convinced whoever controls the line of scrimmage will control the game this week and he needs his offense and defensive line to step in up a notch.

“This game is going to be won in the trenches,” Phillips said. “It’s going to be a dog fight between the lines. If we can make holes for our backs and make plays, we have a good chance of winning.”

Even after a loss, Phillips doesn’t plan on changing anything up from what the Generals normally do. His confidence hasn’t and won’t waiver because of the improvements the Generals have made in the year since their last meeting with Fayetteville.

“We are always looking to run the ball,” Phillips said. “That’s our bread and butter. Our blocking is getting better each week and we’ve had guys like Wes Young step up for us on the defensive line, which is encouraging.”

Horseshoe Bend has used the first two games as a tune-up for the ever-important region games that make or break seasons. As region play begins this week, Phillips thinks a win at Fayetteville is crucial for the Generals moving forward.

“Anytime you play region games it’s important to win,” Phillips said. “We want to win every game, but at the same time these are the ones that really count.”

Even though the Wolves pounded the Generals like a drum last year, Phillips thinks this year’s game will have a different outcome for Horseshoe Bend.

“We are going to have our hands full,” Phillips said. “They got a good team — loaded at the skill positions, big guys up front and big running backs ­­­­­­­­­­­— but we got some players too.”

The Generals have used the previous two games to establish what they want from an identity standpoint. Now the competition is getting kicked up a notch and mistakes need to be limited as much as possible.

Ryne Gallacher is a sports writer for The Outlook.