Garner to coach Wildcats tonight

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 10, 2010

Florala assistant football coach Brad Garner will get the chance to be the head coach of the varsity squad tonight as coach Chris Buckler will not be in attendance due to illness.

Garner, the defensive coordinator for the Wildcats, will try and help lead his team in a region contest against Class 1A powerhouse Brantley.

Last week, Buckler, who has pneumonia, helped lead his team to a 20-18 region road win over Georgiana. That was the first win this season for Florala, and the third in three seasons.

Buckler became ill and checked into St. Vincent’s Hospital late last during a trip to Birmingham, Garner said.

“(Wednesday) was when I got word from him that it was pretty much a done deal this week that he wouldn’t be back for the game Friday night,” Garner said. “I don’t know whether he’s going to be discharged Friday or Saturday.

“I’m just a fill in,” he said. “He’s fully expecting to be back next week.”

The Wildcats (1-1, 1-0 in Class 1A, Region 2) face a No. 2 Bulldogs team that is coming off a 48-8 win over Kinston. In 2009, the Bulldogs won the state title.

“Brantley’s a very good football team,” Garner said. “We know that. It’s going to take a great effort on our part of competing with them. I think the kids will play hard, and they’ll be ready to play. They’re going to get through it just fine.”

Garner said the keys to tonight’s game will be to do well on offense and defense.

“They’re doing a lot of the stuff they did last year,” he said. “Our biggest things on our part is to control the ball and the clock and keep the ball away from them.

“We have to cut down on turnovers and mistakes,” he said. “And don’t end drives because of mistakes on our part.”

Garner hasn’t taken the post of head football coach accept in junior varsity games. He said tonight’s game will be a learning experience.

“I’ve always been an assistant on the defensive side of the ball,” he said. “Coach Buckler’s been here long enough to where I can get a grasp of his offense. I’m just still learning some things about it just because of the amount of time I’ve had with him.

“The rest of the coaches have sat down and said this is what we need to be doing to get ready for Brantley,” he said. “We have something, and the players know what they’re doing.”

Kickoff in Florala is at 7 p.m.