|Tough challenges lie ahead for local teams in Week 7 |
By Stephanie Sturgis
Defense — The Greenfield Yellowjackets defense has been up to the task over the past five weeks, holding opponents to 10.5 points per game during a four-game win streak. The GHS defenders next face a high-octane McKenzie squad on Thursday night.
For Weakley County football teams, the challenges don’t get any easier in Week 7.
The Westview Chargers will try to remain undefeated against much-improved visiting University School of Jackson, while the Greenfield Yellowjackets will try to pin the first Region 7-A loss on the McKenzie Rebels. Dresden’s Lions and Gleason’s Bulldogs will both work at slowing down impressive running games on the road. Gleason visits West Carroll, while Dresden heads to Dyer to take on Gibson County.
The Greenfield vs. McKenzie battle will take place on Thursday night, while the other three games will be played, as usual, on Friday night. All games will kick off at 7:30.
For the Jackets the challenge will be in stopping a balanced offense that mixes the run and pass at a nearly 50 percent rate.
Greenfield, on a four-game win streak, comes into the game a confident squad. That’s a trait head coach Jason Rodehaver is proud to see in his team.
“That was one of the top two or three things we wanted to change. Whenever good teams would roll into town, we would hang our heads. Now, whoever comes in, we’ll be ready to play,” the first-year head coach said.
While some label the game as a showdown for the region title, Rodehaver sees McKenzie as “the next game” in his one game at a time approach.
Westview’s defense, which is limiting opponents to under 200 yards of total offense per game this season, will try to keep the USJ passing attack in check with its veteran secondary. The quick-fire USJ quarterback, Bill Hardegree, rarely holds the ball long enough to give defenses a chance to pressure him.
“We’ve got three seniors back there and some of our linebackers are good as cover guys,” WHS coach Don Coady said.
Ball control by WHS will depend on the effort of the offensive linemen against USJ’s under-sized but quick D-line
“We’ll need a quick first step this week against their moving front,” Coady said of his O-line.
The Bulldogs will try to slow West Carroll’s Wing-T offense with big games by their defensive ends, Ben Sumner and Trae Vaughn. The War Eagles piled up 441 rushing yards in a 63-39 loss to Lake County last week.
Head coach Noah Lampkins believes a good start and aggressive play are keys to a GHS win.
“Our line has been doing well until last week. The effort wasn’t what we needed. It could have been better,” Lampkins said.
For Dresden, the season has become a matter of survival with only 22 of 52 original players practicing this week.
First-year head coach Eric Knott praised the play of Isaac Bruce and Corey Brock in taking on leadership roles.
“Isaac’s got something the team needs, and that is heart. Corey is one of the seniors who is part of the solution. He’s helping build tradition,” Knott said.
The Lions must improve their pursuit, angles and tackling to slow, Antone Cunningham, a player Knott considers the best back his team has faced.
Weakley County Press Oct. 11, 2007