Friday football primer

Friday, September 2, 2016
Anthony Kritz, seen here catching a pass versus Moore County, is part of a Forrest offense that will travel to Westmoreland where they will try to put up some big numbers on the Eagles. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

Week Two was a wild affair with the Tennessee summer weather playing a huge role in the outcome of one football game, a revenge minded team checking off another goal with hard work and determination in a Saturday contest and finally a young team narrowly missing out on a huge upset before falling on the road.

ROCKETS

Never before in Forrest history has a regular season game been decided like the one Friday night at Chapel Hill as the Rockets ran six plays before an electric storm encircled most of Middle Tennessee, causing the cancellation of the contest with an agreement by both the Moore County and Forrest coaches that the Rockets would be awarded the win.

"We really haven't talked about it much as a team," Forrest coach Brent Johns said. "We've been full steam ahead focused on the Westmoreland trip."

Most likely the biggest benefit the Rockets (2-0) gained was essentially a bye week of game day physicality that could pay off down the road, beginning this week when Chapel Hill makes the long trek to open up Region 4AA play at Westmoreland (0-2).

"We were relatively healthy going into last week so the short game allowed us to remain that way," Johns stated. "We actually had to increase our conditioning on Monday to make up for the lack of playing time on Friday night."

Hopefully, the Rockets won't have any rust and will not be looking ahead when they arrive in Sumner County Friday to play the Eagles, who have not scored this year, while allowing 56 points in their first two games.

Maturity

"We just continue talking about being a mature football team and mature football teams know how to handle playing any opponent," Johns said. "We are focusing more on specific team goals and improving ourselves this week. Don't let the 0-2 start fool you, Westmoreland has a great coaching staff and a proud football history. They will be more than ready to play us on Friday night."

Winning football means taking it straight to the opponent in the ground game and Forrest thrives in the trenches with running backs galore, giving Johns and his offensive coaching staff plenty of options.

"Our keys will be the same as always," Johns stressed. "Number one we want to run the ball behind our O-line and share the carries between our backs. Then in turn stop the run on defense by swarming to the ball with great effort. The fact that our backs share the carries on offense this season allows them to give hundred percent effort on defense and not worry about saving themselves for offense."

Rockets win big and get ready for a huge showdown at Page next week.

The Marshall County Tigers (2-0) will be back at Preston Hopkins Field this week when they entertain Tullahoma (0-2) at 7 p.m.

TIGERS

For Marshall County, Saturday night's win was huge in many ways as the Tigers wanted desperately to honor their departed friend and colleague David Orr with a huge win in the first game at Preston Hopkins Field since Orr's passing and they did just that with a super impressive 33-19 win over John Overton.

Number two, the Tigers held on to the memory of the tough last second loss at Overton last year and they wanted to make amends for their only regular season loss.

"We are very happy with the win against a well-coached and extremely talented opponent," MCHS coach Thomas Osteen said. "I thought we handled the adversity of the weekend with the delay on Friday and having to get refocused again on Saturday in a very good fashion. I hope those are all signs of a mature football team going forward."

Great night

Marshall County running back Cain McWilliams went ballistic on the Bobcats, scoring three rushing touchdowns, including the game changing fake punt return that took the wind out the Bobcats sails early in the third quarter.

"Cain had a great night," Osteen said. "The fake punt was the moment the game changed. Hats off to Cain for a great run and to coach (Josh) Beddingfield for installing the play in in practice."

The Tiger defense overcame the heat and great Overton athletes, essentially pitching a second half shutout and the linebacker Cain had a special hand in that department also.

"He (McWilliams) was one of the biggest reasons we kept their talented duo of Theo Jackson and Taverius Travis at bay for most of the night defensively," Osteen stated.

Winless foe

Lewisburg opens up Region 4AAAA play Friday night versus Tullahoma, hosting the winless Wildcats in Tiger Country at 7 p.m.

Marshall County has to be licking its offensive chops as they watch film of a Wildcat defense that has been gouged by 82 points in its first two games this season.

"The motto this week is 'Play to the Tiger Standard' no matter who the opponent is," Osteen stressed. "It's the first region game so it's a huge game. Tullahoma is well coached in all phases of the game."

Osteen set down the proven facts about football when he talked about the keys to winning the game Friday night and moving to 3-0 on the season being, "We must protect the football on offense, maximize each drive, read our keys on defense and I want us to create more turnovers as a defensive team."

Look for Marshall County to run all over the Wildcats, opening a wide first half lead before putting them away in the second half and get some starters on the bench to prepare for a tough battle with another Metro Nashville foe at East Nashville next Friday night.

Cornersville quarterback Eli Woodard and the Bulldog offense needs to get some points on the board this week at Grace Christian Academy-Franklin.

BULLDOGS

Coach Gerard Randolph's Cornersville Bulldogs have knocked on the doorstep of victory twice this season, only to see it slip away in heart wrenching defeats.

But the ever positive Randolph will not let his young troops get down on themselves saying, "My main focus after the game was not to let this young group fall apart after two very tough losses. We have to believe that we are getting better as a football program, and we are. We have faced two really good offensive and defensive fronts the last two weeks, and it's only going to make us much better."

The Bulldogs have played great on defense, allowing only two regulations scores and let's point out that giving up one touchdown on the road at Collinwood is more than solid enough effort that should have resulted in a win.

Effort exists

"I am very proud of our defense, as far as the heart and effort it has been there," Randolph said. We would like to keep teams out of the end zone and off the scoreboard if all possible. We still have a lot of room for improvement, but every day is a day to get better, and that is what we plan to achieve."

Cornersville is a bit nicked up early and will most likely get sophomore receiver Payton Finch back in an offense lineup that needs all the weapons it can get if it wants to get some points on the board this week at Grace Christian Academy-Franklin.

"As far as injuries, we will be getting Peyton Finch back this week. Peyton suffered a concussion in Week One, but has showed no symptoms this week, and he has started his return to play regime." Randolph added to the injury update, saying, "Eli Woodard and Trenton Warren both suffered ankle injuries in the Collinwood game, but both have begun rehab and should be available for Friday night, other than that everyone else is okay to go."

Hard workers

Randolph's Bulldogs keep pushing hard and the gritty bunch from Frog Bottom is coming to work every day with lunch pail in hand.

"Honestly, I think this week has started off to a great start," Randolph stated. "It's nothing we can do about the last couple of weeks, but learn from them. My guys understand the motto here, and that's to compete and win each day that you step on the field, and that includes practice."

Look for the Bulldogs to break through this week with a win in their Region 4A opener on the road as Randolph's positive tutelage pays off.

"I am confident that we will continue to prepare at a high level to fix our mistakes and be a good sound football team," Randolph said. "Our coaching staff is committed to coaching these young men up and putting them in the best possible position to be successful."

Bulldogs 24, GCA Lions 10.