Straughn to face tough Elba

Published 12:02 am Thursday, September 27, 2012

Where do we start?

That’s what Straughn head football coach Trent Taylor asked himself as his Class 3A team began to prepare for defending Class 2A state champion and fourth-ranked Elba this week.

“These non-region games are supposed to be against teams that are not quite so tough,” a humble Taylor said. “If you don’t step down a classification, don’t step on the ‘King Dog.'”

Taylor said that this match up can turn into a good one down the road.

“We’re in close proximity and they’ve got a good thing going on in Elba, and from a financial stand point, it will be a good game for both schools — if it works out so that we can continue to play,” he said.

Straughn enters tomorrow night’s contest after winning handily over Cottage Hill, 49-7 last week.

Elba, on the other hand, has been averaging 52 points per game since its 21-20 loss to Opp in week one.

One thing Taylor said he noticed from film past and present, is that each player, whether it be a tackle to a hefty guard, can run.

Elba has quarterback Austin Johnson, who missed the first two weeks, but didn’t play much in his team’s 50-point wins over Central Hayneville and New Brockton. Johnson is 10-of-14 for 231 yards and four touchdowns this season. Reid Rials, who is also at quarterback for EHS, is 22-of-31 for 320 yards and four touchdowns in passing.

The favorite targets for both are receivers Cobe Goosby (177 yards on 11 receptions and two touchdowns) and Shannon James (125 yards on four receptions and four touchdowns).

“I do remember seeing them last year in the third round against Flomaton,” Taylor said about Elba. “It was a close ball game back and forth, and while there were a lot of key components, one of them was (Johnson’s) ability to throw the football.”

In Elba’s contest against Opp, the game went back and forth until the end, where EHS scored late and tried for a 2-point conversion to win. EHS couldn’t convert and the Bobcats came were winners.

Taylor said he prefers a game where it’s not so “back and forth.”

“Certainly, it’s going to come down to our ability to drive the football,” he said. “We’ve got to have long sustained drives. With their quick strike potential, we’ve got to do a good job of hemming them up around the line of scrimmage. If they get into the open field — and they have just so much more team speed than we do — then it’s not really a good match up for us.”


Injury update:

Dillan Conner (jaw) will be out one more week, Taylor said.

“We’ve got some other guys who have filled in more than adequately (while Conner has been out),” he said.

Ty Ballard (knee) went to get another MRI done in Gulf Breeze on Tuesday.