SHS to face ‘well-coached’ Admirals

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Straughn’s Devin Scott (21) rushes against W.S. Neal in the Tigers’ first region win during week two. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Straughn head football coach Trent Taylor gave high praise to Bayside Academy because the Admirals not only play well on all three phases of the game, but are also coached well.

“There are a lot of teams that you play that just have tremendous athletes in this position or that position, specifically in the skill position,” Taylor said. “Then, every so often, you come across that team where the biggest kid on the team is 210 pounds. They’re not anything that’s going to ooh and aah you when they take the field to warm up or any type of thing.

“They are, without a doubt, the best-coached football team, not only this year, but a few years ago when they were in our region and we played them in the second round of the playoffs,” he said. “They’re just extremely well-coached.”

Straughn will visit the Admirals on Friday in Daphne to vie for a possible spot in the playoffs. The last time the Tigers (4-1, 3-0 in Class 3A, Region 1) played Bayside Academy was in 2009.

Taylor was referring to Admirals’ coach Phil Lazenby, who is in his sixth year as Bayside’s head football coach.

“I’m not taking anything away from their kids,” Taylor said. “Their quarterback (Hunter Slater) is a smart kid. The full back and half back in their Wing-T formation are really good athletes.”

Not only do the Admirals (2-3, 2-1) play well on offense and defense, the coach said, but their special teams play is “proficient.”

Bayside Academy kicked three onside kicks and recovered each one in its 23-19 loss to UMS-Wright last week. The Admirals even returned a kick off for a touchdown against Opp and T.R. Miller.

“There’s not a weakness,” Taylor said. “They’re good on offense. They’re good on defense. They’re good on special teams.”

Unlike Bayside Academy, the Tigers are coming off of a big 29-26 win over Class 2A defending state champion Elba. Straughn kicker Chase Short kicked the game-winning field goal after a late interception by fellow teammate Nick Stepp with more than 2:30 to go in the game.

Taylor said it was good to get a win like that over Elba.

“To play a team like that, if you sit back and thought about it, it’s not what you want to do in a non-region game in week five,” he said. “But, to play a team like that and come away with a win, I think it’s very big. I think our kids were very excited. Our kids know what Elba did last year. I was proud of the way they responded.”

Since SHS has three region wins so far this season, it would need to win this week to have a good chance of clinching a playoff spot.

“I don’t know if there’s any guarantee that four (region wins) will get you in (to the playoffs),” Taylor said, “but that sounds good (to me).”

For right now though, Taylor said he wants his team to put itself in a “good position” to be able to secure the coveted playoff spot.

“I think our team has the potential to be pretty good,” he said. “They have shown the tendency to understand that if they continue to work, then they’ll be pretty good.”

Kick off in Daphne is at 7 p.m. on Friday.