Opp to host Straughn

Published 11:59 pm Thursday, September 24, 2009

Opp coach Jack Whigham said his team will have to play the “best game of their season” in order to be successful tonight as they host Straughn.

“They’re a very good team and they’re going to be the best-coached team we have played so far,” Whigham said. “The Josh Dewrell kid is a good quarterback and is outstanding.

“Caleb Cochran is the best defensive player we’ll see this year,” he said “We’re going to have to play our best game this year. We have a good plan right now, but we just need to do a good job of executing it.”

Straughn coach Trent Taylor said both his team and Opp are similar in a lot of ways.

“Both of us have been trying to find our identities on the offensive side of the ball,” Taylor said. “Both of us are coming off disappointing losses last week.

“One, where we as a team didn’t play well and one where they had some bad things happen at the end,” he said. “The positive thing is that we have a game like this in that it’s easy to put last week’s game behind you to go forward.”

Taylor said this game would be especially fun for the fans.

“It’ll be a great game and it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Taylor said. “A lot of people from both sides support their teams. That’s what high school football is supposed to be about. I just hope, that from our perspective side, it plays out like it should.”

Last week, Opp (1-3, 1-2 in Class 4A, Region 2) suffered a tough homecoming loss to St. James in the final seconds of the game when St. James’ running back scored a 1-yard touchdown with 4.2 seconds remaining to win 20-17.

Following that game, Whigham was visibly shaking while walking off the field, and was helped into a truck by assistant coaches, who quickly took him to nearby Mizell Memorial Hospital.

He remained there over the weekend where he was treated for dehydration and was released from the hospital on Sunday.

“I feel fine,” Whigham said. “A lot of the test results turned out to be negative, which is a good thing.”

Whigham said he was “encouraged” by the team’s practice this week.

“I think our kids have worked real hard this week,” he said. “We’ve had some minor injuries and some kids are doubtful. You know, we’ll load up and play and not use that as an excuse and do the best we can. We need to do our best and I think it will be a good game.”

Straughn (2-2, 2-1 in Class 3A, Region 1) hopes last week can be a distant memory, as the Tigers turned the ball over seven times in a 27-0 loss to region opponent Bayside Academy.

Taylor said as far as his team’s practice this week, the players have known what to do to get prepared for tonight’s game.

“It’s been pretty easy going to practice this week,” Taylor said. “They know who they have. It’s easy to be motivated. We’re going to play hard and it’ll just come down to again who makes the least mistakes.

“If we eliminate those turnovers we had last week, then we’ll at least find ourselves with a chance to win,” he said. “We left the defense on the field too much (last Friday).”