RLS preps for ‘tough,’ ‘fast’ McKenzie team

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 21, 2010

If there are two keys Red Level coach Tony Ingram knows about McKenzie in expectation to this Friday night’s contest at Bobby Dye Field, it’s that the visiting Tigers are a fast and tough team.

“They’re very tough,” Ingram said. “We’re going to go down on the field and put up speed limit signs. They’re fast.”

Red Level is coming off a 35-0 homecoming win over Calhoun last week, and is currently sitting at 2-2 overall, and 2-1 in Class 2A, Region 2.

McKenzie, on the other hand, remains undefeated after defeating Geneva County last week, 46-12.

McKenzie all-purpose senior Emmanuel Johnson will provide a challenge for Red Level, Ingram said. Before the season started, Johnson committed to play at the University of Southern Mississippi next fall.

In addition, McKenzie will also rely on quarterback Sir Wallace Presley to lead its spread offense.

“We’ve got to sustain our stuff on offense to keep their offense off of the field,” Ingram said. “They’re very, very fast. The best way to neutralize that is to keep them off the field.

“We’ve got to tackle them in their space, because they’re going to get in space,” he said. “I don’t think you can bring a lot of pressure on Presley, instead I think you’ve got to contain him. We’ve got to be in our coverage area all the time, and we’ve got to play in our assignments. If we get caught in the back field, then it’s going to be a guy running by us.”

Ingram said he wants his team to use this mid-season game as a way to get better.

“It’s not a region game, and we want to win,” he said. “We want to use this game to get better. I think playing a team like this gets you better.

“We won’t probably see this much speed again this year,” he said. “I know Elba has some fast kids, but overall, McKenzie and all of their skill people are very athletic and fast.”

McKenzie’s defense is similar to Red Level’s, Ingram said. Red Level runs the four-front attack.

In last week’s win, Ingram said there were no injuries to report, which is good at this point in the season.

“We came through Friday night pretty healthy,” Ingram said. “Really, just the normal bumps and bruises that you get this time of year, and in any football game. At this point of the year the nagging injuries mount up, but we’ve been real lucky since we’ve won.”

Ingram added that he would like to see a big crowd at the game Friday night.

“To these kids, they don’t know about the old Red Level-McKenzie rivalry,” he said. ” McKenzie and Red Level used to be a big game, and I know they’re going to bring a crowd.

“We’ve got to get our home crowd here, and get them fired up,” he said. “These kids feed off that home crowd. We’ve got to get these kids here, and get them jacked up.”

Kickoff in Red Level is at 7 p.m.