Florala steps up intensity at practice, ready for Brantley

Published 11:59 pm Thursday, September 10, 2009

Florala will be put to the “test” this week as the Wildcats host Class 1A powerhouse Brantley this week in region play.

The Wildcats are coming off a 55-0 region loss to McKenzie last week. Brantley defeated Providence Christian, 48-24.

“It’s definitely going to be a big test,” Florala coach Stan Gooden said. “They’re solid just like they are every year. They’re big and fast and very well-coached.”

Like Florala, Brantley is 1-1 on the season overall after losing to Luverne in the first game of the season. Florala won its first game of the season against J.F. Shields, 26-0.

Gooden said in order to prepare for the game this week, the team went back to the drawing board.

“We really went back this week and broke everything down from last week’s game and treated each day getting mentally and physically tough,” he said. “We kind of lacked in those areas last week against McKenzie. Even though we’ve got folks banged up and sick, we’re not making excuses.

“We didn’t really compete last week and the kids saw that after looking at film,” he said.

Gooden said this week at practice has gone well, building up a “competitive” edge.

“We’ve had a good week at practice,” Gooden said. “We’ve done some different things to get them to compete on Friday night. We’re just going to see how that works. If that doesn’t work, we’ll try something different.”

Senior Jamie Davis and freshman Austin McNeil will not be seeing the field this week due to the flu.

“We’ve got to get the other kids to step up and fill those voids we’re missing,” Gooden said. “There have been some players that have responded.”

Gooden said he thinks his team can compete with Brantley.

“We believe we can play with Brantley,” he said. “We haven’t told our kids anything different. If we win Friday night, it’ll be one of the biggest upsets in the state of Alabama. Florala has had some good teams in the past and I don’t know if they have ever beaten Brantley. We’re going to keep moving forward and remain positive.”

Gooden said the morale on the team right now is “very good.”

“We went back and made it fun for our players and that’s how they’ve responded,” he said. “We’ve done some specific things to get ready for Friday. I want them to have fun while they’re playing. They want to do well and they’ve worked really hard to show that they can do better than last week.”

Kick off in Florala is at 7 p.m.