Reeltown has faced a strenuous schedule to this point in the season.
The Class 3A rebels opened their season against Class 5A Tallassee, and have since faced off with St. James, a ranked Class 4A team, and Montgomery Catholic, one of the best teams in the state regardless of class. No team has come within four touchdowns of beating the Knights in six games this season.
It doesn’t get any easier this week when Reeltown welcomes undefeated Trinity Presbyterian to Notasulga Friday.
“Trinity’s an exceptional team. They’re very, very, very well coached, well disciplined,” Reeltown coach Matt Johnson said. “They’ve got a tremendous amount of team speed.”
Johnson holds a great deal of respect for Trinity coach Granger Shook, a former teammate of his at Huntingdon College while both were still in the playing phase of their respective football careers.
The Wildcats boast a 5-0 record in 2021, but their three most recent games have been pure domination after the team opened the season with two one-score wins.
Trinity defeated Goshen, Beulah and Pike County by a combined tally of 171-0, scoring no less than 52 points in each game with three straight shutouts.
“We’re not shying away from anybody,” Johnson said. “We made this schedule for this reason. We didn’t make this schedule to count our wins and losses, we made it to get better and to do what we have to do to get in the playoffs, then be a sharpened knife once we get there.”
For the Wildcats it starts on the defensive side of the football. They’ve posted shutouts in four of their five games thus far this season, allowing five points per game total.
Senior defensive back and wide receiver Mac McClinton will be one of Trinity’s main stars there, with a defensive line featuring several returning starters from a 10-3 2020 team.
Speed and depth are the strength of Trinity’s defense, Johnson said, with a roster of 70 players meaning the Wildcats rely on far fewer two-way players than the Rebels do.
“They’re all around the ball, they play extremely hard,” Johnson said. “They’ve got a lot of talent. Defensively, they’re probably overall one of the fastest defenses we’ve seen this year. You combine that with discipline and being coached very well and it’s a test.”
Senior quarterback Coleman Stanley leads the charge on the other side of the ball, a first-year starter who guides an intricate offense for Trinity.
The Wildcats frequent between three types of tempo, with regular huddle, check-with-me no-huddle and all-out no-huddle being mixed in. At its fastest, their offense is capable of consistently snapping the ball five seconds after it’s spotted by officials, according to Johnson.
They also employ a variety of formations and can throw or run out of any of them, often sending multiple players in motion pre-snap to change the look and alignment of a defense.
It’ll be a challenge of preparation and recognition for Reeltown’s defense.
“Outside of their players, the thing that we’ve really focused on is the scheme that they run,” Johnson said. “They do a lot of double motions, they may shift the formation and it may shift to a balanced set or an unbalanced set. You’re constantly having to see numbers.”
Reeltown and Trinity meet at 7 p.m. Friday.