What’s your assignment?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 23, 2010

Opp’s Quadir Kincaid gains yardage in last week’s contest against Geneva. | Tripp Norris/For the Star-News

In order to stop Straughn’s option offense, the Opp Bobcats will have to play assignment football this Friday night at Tigers Stadium, OHS coach Jack Whigham said Tuesday.

“We could’ve probably chosen a lot easier opponent for a non-region game other than Straughn,” Whigham said. “We feel like if we ever want to get our program to where it needs to be, that our non-region games need to be against real quality folks. We’re playing Elba, Straughn and Andalusia this year just like we did last year. I think it can’t do anything better in the long run playing quality folks like that.”

The Bobcats are currently sitting on a 2-2 overall record, and enter week five 2-1 in Class 3A, Region 2. Opp is coming off a 37-7 win over Geneva.

In last year’s contest, Opp came away with a 20-7 victory over Straughn. As a result, the Tigers (4-0, 3-0 in Class 4A, Region 2) changed their offense to the option.

Whigham said the option offense attack allows a team to do three things, with their quarterback at the helm.

“If you don’t play assignment football, then they’re going to get you with the three phases of it, whether it’s the mid-line, veer or the quarterback keeping it or him pitching the ball,” he said. “So, we’ve got to be very disciplined about what we’ve got to do defensively. Of course, (Straughn quarterback Josh) Dewrell is the key to the whole thing, and the full back (Chase) Short is also. If we don’t stop just the mid-line give and the veer give, then we’re going to have trouble because they’re going to run it up the middle at us. We’ve got to be able to try to close that part of it down and take care of the other two aspects of it also.”

Dewrell is currently the leading passer and rusher for the Tigers. He has racked up 181 yards and four touchdowns in passing, and on the ground has rushed 295 yards on 39 carries and scored five touchdowns.

In addition to Dewrell, Short has amassed 200 yards on 30 carries and scored five touchdowns.

Given Opp is a running game type team, Whigham said he will have to put in a lot of variety on offense against Straughn’s defense, which has allowed 76 points total this season.

“We’re going to face a tremendous challenge in their defense,” Whigham said. “(SHS defensive coordinator) Coach (John) Fussell does an outstanding job as far as directing their defense.

“They have some decent athletes in the secondary,” he said. “They’re just a solid team all the way around. We’ve got to mix it up some, and we’ve got to throw the ball around a little bit. We’re not a throwing offense, but at the same time we’ve got to be able to throw the ball on first, second and third down, not in throwing situations — and, we’ve got to execute in order to have a chance to win.”

In last season’s game, Opp had the home-field advantage, and Whigham said anytime a road game comes up, it creates a “hostile environment” for his team.

“Anytime you play on the road, it’s a little bit of a hostile environment,” he said. “It’s an excellent field. It’s a beautiful stadium. They have an excellent playing surface. I have a tremendous amount of respect for (SHS head) coach (Trent) Taylor and his staff, and all of our coaches do — for the job that they do there, and for the program they’ve built there over the years.

“We have a good rivalry, and our kids and our parents and their kids and their parents have good natured ribbing going on there,” he said. “As far as respect, we respect them and we respect what they’ve done.”

Kickoff in Straughn is at 7 p.m.