0904 spt-Brice Scott, Ty White
Straughn’s Brice Scott (1) is pursued by Opp’s Ty White (11) during the Tigers’ win over the Bobcats last week. | Monte Morgan/For the Star-News

Making pieces fit

Published 12:03am Thursday, September 4, 2014

Straughn will be trying to find where to put the right pieces this week as the third-ranked Tigers visit St. James tomorrow night to start region action.

“Offensively, we’re very, very similar as far as what they do,” SHS head football coach Trent Taylor said. “I think the biggest difference and the toughest thing versus them is that they run so many sets. Their main goal in life is to try to outflank you. They show one thing, then jump to another.

“The challenge for us this week has been to make sure we’re not outnumbered to one side or the other, but to keep things as simplistic as we possibly can for our kids,” he said.

The Tigers are coming off of a rousing 46-28 rivalry, week-one victory over Opp. Typically, Straughn plays Andalusia for its first game of the season, but because both are in Class 4A, Region 2, the matchup wasn’t warranted so early in the year. The last time SHS won its season opener against a rival was in 2008, where it beat AHS, 50-26.

St. James beat Elmore County 27-7 last week.

With Monday being a holiday, Taylor said the players came in focused and ready for this week, adding that they know what’s at stake in the long run.

“I’ve told the kids for a long time we’re not going to let a week one rivalry win define us,” he said. “We’ve done a good job responding on a loss. Now, we’ve got to turn that around and do that again after a win.”

St. James’ best player is Auburn commit and tight end Jalen Harris. Harris will be wearing No. 43 in memory of former Auburn standout Philip Lutzenkirchen, who was going to be an assistant at STJ.

“He’s certainly not bad,” Taylor said about Harris. “He’s the best player on the team. He plays at tight end, (halfback), wide receiver; he’s much-a, much-a man.”

Taylor noted that running backs Jonathan Robinson and Blake Underwood are good as well.

“The biggest thing for us is just getting aligned correctly,” Taylor said. “Everbody’s got guys they’re trying to get the ball to, whether it’s a running back or a receiver. The kid that committed to Auburn presents such a physical mismatch. We’re not the biggest football team in the secondary you’ve ever seen.”

Taylor said the players also understand the target on their backs in regards to the No. 3 ranking in Class 4A.

“That just gives that other team a little added motivation,” the coach said about the rankings. “St. James played real well last Friday night against Elmore County played in their first game.”

Kickoff tomorrow night in Montgomery is at 7.

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