|Chargers, Bulldogs prep to be playoff road warriors |
|Posted: Thursday, November 6, 2008 1:05 pm |
Both the Westview Chargers and the Gleason Bulldogs had to fight their way into the 2008 version of the TSSAA playoffs.
Swarm — The Westview defense will have its hands full in dealing with a large offensive line and the Hawks’ talented running back Osbie Greer when the Chargers travel to Memphis to take on host Oakhaven in the TSSAA playoffs at 7 on Friday night.
Now that they are in, both teams will have another fight on their hands when they kick off their opening round postseason contests at 7 on Friday night.
The two Weakley County squads will be on the road taking on a pair of tough squads. Westview (6-4), the No. 3 team in Region 8-2A, will head to Memphis to tangle with the Oakhaven Hawks (6-4), the runner-up in Region 9-2A. The Gleason Bulldogs (5-5), the No. 4 team in Region 7-A, will visit Jackson to take on the Trinity Christian Academy Lions (5-5), the top team from Region 8-A.
For Gleason, the Bulldogs have now earned a TSSAA playoff berth in consecutive seasons for the first time in school history. The Bulldogs competed in the state postseason in 1982, 1987, 1995, 2000, 2004 and 2007. Last year Fayette Academy downed Gleason 26-12.
Lampkins hopes the experience gained last year in making the step up in playoff intensity will be a benefit.
“I hope it helped us some. Maybe we won’t be just happy to be there,” the Bulldog coach noted.
Westview head coach Don Coady said his team has had a “normal week” of practice.
Making the playoffs for the Blue and Gold has become a regular, but still highly coveted, experience.
For the Chargers, the state playoff appearance is the 17th in school history. Westview has a 22-16 overall record in the postseason, but a 24-22 loss to Peabody in the opening round last season snapped a string of 11 consecutive first-round wins.
Both Westview and Gleason are coming off Week 10 games in which they were manhandled by the top team in their respective regions. The Chargers were defeated by the Milan Bulldogs, 45-14, while the Gleason Bulldogs were stopped by the Union City Tornadoes, 63-22.
“I think we’ve put it behind us and rebounded,” Lampkins said of team’s attitude after last week’s loss.
Looking ahead to this week’s game, Lampkins thinks his Gleason offense will have a speed advantage over the Trinity Christian defense.
“I feel like, overall, we’re a little faster. We’re just going to run our offense and try to take what they give us,” the Bulldog leader said.
Lion free safety Jabriel Wash-ington is one TCA defender the Dawgs will have to keep their eye on. The sophomore gets a good jump on the ball and reacts well to both the pass and the run. Senior defensive back Hagen Nelson is another Lion to watch.
Westview head coach Don Coady classifies the defense his team will be playing as a “gambling” unit that packs the box and blitzes regularly.
“They’re quick with good size. They’re a big gambling defense. Sometimes they look real good when they do it, but on the next play they may get gassed,” the Westview head coach said.
Oakhaven’s defense is allowing 20.9 points per contest, while the Charger offense is scoring at a 23.8 point per game clip.
Flipping to the offensive side, the Hawks rely on a giant offensive line and the talents of running back Osbie Greer.
“He’s a good running back. He’s big, strong and fast,” Coady said of Greer.
“They are huge up front. They will make us look like a Pee Wee team out there. They try to create a crease and let (Greer) go,” the WHS coach said.
Coady has had his defense working on slanting moves and may bring some blitzes and move his secondary up in an effort to stop the Hawk offense that is averaging 23.8 points per game. The Westview defense is allowing 26.7 points per game.
Oakhaven’s quarterback, soph-omore Blake Diggs, usually only passes when the Hawks are trailing and with mixed results according to Coady.
For Gleason’s defense the task at hand will be trying to stop TCA’s Wing-T offense keyed by Washington at quarterback.
“They are one of the most balanced teams with the run and pass that I’ve seen in West Tennessee,” Lampkins said. “They are well coached and they do things right.”
TCA has played a very tough schedule. With only five teams in their region, the Lions used their other weeks to schedule three opponents from Class AA, two opponents from Class AAA and one from Division II-AA. TCA went 2-4 against those teams. The only common opponent Gleason and Trinity share is the Halls Tigers. Halls defeated Gleason 32-27 in Week 1 and tripped the Lions 33-27 last Friday night.
“I feel like we can compete with them. If we play well, we’ve got a legitimate shot to compete in this game,” Gleason head coach Noah Lampkins said.