Samuel D. Logan
The Valdosta Daily Times
The Valdosta High Wildcats are an undefeated (2-0) coming into the game tonight. That is a different start than last season, which saw the Wildcats start off (1-1) coming into this same match up.
Last season, when the Wildcats battled the Crisp County Cougars, Valdosta ran away with the victory 45-0. Tonight's encounter pits two teams, both with 2-0 records, against each other in what seems to be a tough gridiron matchup.
Last Friday, the Wildcats ran their way to victory against the Brooks County Trojans. The defense managed to stop one of the top quarterback prospects in the state of Georgia - Malkom Parrish.
That cannot be overlooked especially with the Wildcats causing seven turnovers of the defensive side of the ball.
The spotlight tonight will be on the Wildcat offensive line. During practices this week, the Wildcats have been preparing to take on a defense that showcases a copious amount of blitzes. With the exotic blitzing scheme used by the Cougars, the offensive line will have to protect their quarterbacks Mac Loudermilk and Craig Barry on the few passing plays they will run.
With the amazing play of running backs Malcolm Joseph and Nelson Herring, the Wildcats should be able to take advantage of some of Crisp's likely blitzing fronts. The offensive line will have to open holes for the running backs to gain extra yardage.
In order to shift momentum, the Wildcats should plan to implement screen passes, to their running backs and receivers, to soften up the amount of blitzes Crisp will use.
Alex Cason could have a big game if he gets open, as he will have a chance to show his speed.
“They play an odd stack defense, three down linemen and five linebackers, and they bring the house. We are practicing on getting accustomed to the types of blitzes we will see,” said offensive lineman coach Mark Loudermilk.
On defense, look for the Wildcats to continue to cause turnovers and disruption in the backfield. With two games under their belts this season defending against the option, playing Crisp County should be easy for the Wildcats. They will pay a team that runs a zone-read offense, that will once again be similar to what the Wildcats experienced last week against Brooks County and the previous week against Thomas County Central.
The defensive players must stay on their assignments and make good tackles to win this game. Crisp County does have an athletic quarterback and running back so the defense has their work cut out for them.
Working on tackling in practice was a big factor for the Wildcats this week. Against Brooks last week, the team struggled at times making open field tackles leading to big plays for the opposing offense. Coaches and players have expressed the need to tackle better for the upcoming game tonight and season.
“We gave up a lot of yards and first downs and did not tackle well,” said Defensive Coordinator Alan Rodemaker.
The three keys to a Wildcat victory this weekend will be running the ball well, continuing to cause turnovers on defense and to get consistency at the quarterback position.
The Wildcats kickoff their third game of the season, 8 p.m. today on Cleveland Field at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.