Meridian Star

August 30, 2013

Lauderdale County football previews: Clarkdale looking for new in-game mentality

The Meridian Star

Bulldogs look for new in-game mentality

    The Clarkdale Bulldogs will open the 2013 home season against Nanih Waiya tonight and are still in search of the their first win since 2011.

    Head coach Wes Roy said the Bulldogs bit themselves with costly turnovers last week. This week in practice they've been focusing on preventing such, but also working on the players' in-game mentality.

    “We have to find a way to keep digging, is how I tell it to them,” Roy said. “Everybody is going to make mistakes over the course of a ball game. You got to find a way to overcome those mistakes.”

    Additionally, the team has taken an “about us” focus to this season. Roy said he wants his team to focus almost solely on their improvement rather than who their next opponent might be.

    “I always tell our guys, ‘it's not about who we are playing, it's about how we play,’” he said.

    To keep the game close and avoid a blow out like last year, a 54-21 Warrior win, Roy said the Bulldogs' linebackers and offensive line will need to work in unison. Individually, he will be looking at running back Justin Goodwin and full back Austin Thomas to lead the offense.

    Last week, in the loss to Sebastopol, Goodwin rushed for 109 yards while Thomas added 59 yards rushed with a touchdown.


Cougars, Tigers each looking move to 2-0

    Both Newton County and Southeast Lauderdale are coming off decent first week wins, putting the season’s first loss on the line in their Week 2 matchup tonight in Decatur.

    Last week, Newton County blew open the 2013 campaign with a 47-14 win over Neshoba Central at home. Southeast will continue its road trip after a commanding 30-14 win at Newton.

    Newton County head coach Jackie Williamson said he and the team didn’t celebrate the win too much because there was still work to be done.

    “We had to get away from the first win, we can only stand there and think about it so long,” he said. “That was a big win for us the other night, there's no doubt … we got to get ready for the next one.”

    In the opener, the Cougars put on display the strength they've added since last season. Williamson said the team hit the weight room hard in the off season which was evident against Neshoba, but will also be a key against Southeast.

    As for this week, Williamson said he expects the in-game play to be a lot of the same from last year, but he can only hope for the same out come — a 35-14 Newton County win.

    A leading force and difference-maker after a strong week in practice will be running back Trent Hundall, as the Cougars look to improve their running game going forward.

Raiders look to ride fast start

    Following a 35-3 stomping of Starkville Academy, Lamar is looking to build on its fast start, as the Raiders travel to Winston Academy tonight.

    While the trip to Louisville will be the first official road game for the Raiders, head coach Mac Barnes said his team is comfortable traveling after playing preseason scrimmages at East Rankin, Jackson Academy and Scooba this spring.

    Barnes said he was pleased with his team’s intensity and aggressiveness last week, especially on defense where the Raiders provided plenty of pressure up front.

    “I think any coach will tell you if they had a choice of anything, it would be a good defense,” Barnes said. “When they play well, it gives us more snaps on offense. We were able to snap the ball close to 70 times, and if you can do that, you have a pretty good chance of


    The extra plays helped in wearing down the Volunteers as Lamar constantly kept Starkville’s defense on the field last week.

    “We were trying to do that,” Barnes said. “To their credit, they were in pretty good shape. But, we will try to do that and speed up the tempo and bring it to the running backs and not have to many guys going both ways. That kind of works in our favor.”


Week 2 brings fresh start for Warriors    

    Russell Christian Academy head coach Nate Ballard would like to forget last week’s 44-7 loss to Patrician Academy. The Warriors will have to do just that, as they have no time to lick their wounds before facing another tough test in Week 2 with a trip to Benton Academy tonight.

    Ballard said the blowout loss last week might actually help RCA, as the game not only woke up the Warriors, but also motivated the team to prevent a similar outcome in the future.

    “We had a good week of practice,” Ballard said. “Unlike last week, we had a really good week. We just have to do a better job of blocking and tackling. It’s just the basics.

    “They knocked us on our butts, and we needed that. I wish it wouldn’t have been as embarrassing, but it is something that we needed. The boys have been back to work and I think they will be ready.”

    Despite only putting up six points against Canton Academy last week, Ballard said he expects Benton to bring a solid rushing attack to the contest. However, in Game 2, he is confident the Warriors will find a better result in stopping a power attack.

    “I think you are going to see a big difference this week,” Ballard said. “Benton is the fourth ranked team in Class A, so we will be ready for another challenge.”