Looking to advance

Published 12:01 am Friday, November 16, 2012

Straughn’s Jamie Stewart (23) and Rollin Kinsaul (5) make a tackle in the Tigers’ 35-7 victory over Daleville last week. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Straughn hopes to mark another team off its list in its quest for a blue map, as it takes on Trinity tonight in the second round of the 3A state playoffs at Tigers Stadium.

SHS (7-3) dominated then undefeated Daleville 35-7 last week in the first round, while TPS (9-2) trounced Northside, 34-13.

There an air of excitement in hosting a playoff game, but SHS needs to take care of business against a balanced Trinity, SHS coach Trent Taylor said.

“Our job is Friday night,” Taylor said. “These are one-game seasons. I think our kids are starting to understand some things we’ve been preaching all year. The important thing is to improve every practice. The other thing we talked about, is that everybody you play from this point on, is going to be good.

“We’ve got to take care of us,” he said.

In its win over the Warhawks, Straughn utilized its option offense attack on the ground. TPS had a more balanced approach, passing the ball for 16 completions and running the pigskin 25 times.

Leading the Wildcats at quarterback is senior Allen Wood.

“They do throw it a whole, whole lot,” SHS coach Trent Taylor said. “The films we have, I dare say about 90 percent of the time, they’re looking to throw the football.”

The dive play is their “bread and butter,” Taylor said.

Wood has some nice targets in freshman wide receiver Robert Adams, and senior leading receiver Win Grice.

“I’ve seen them make some fantastic catches,” Taylor said. “Obviously, it’s something they work on quite a bit.”

Guarding the pass for Wood is Division 1 prospect and senior, David Gross, who is 6-foot-6 and 292 pounds.

While Taylor noticed Trinity’s strong pass game on film, Wildcats coach Randy Ragsdale said the X-factor for the Tigers is the offensive line.

“They move their feet well,” Ragsdale said. “When they get down field, they also look at getting other blocks. Not only do they have good skills, whoever their offensive line coach is (Kenneth Skipper), he’s doing an outstanding job.”

Sources say most of Trinity’s yards on offense come after the ball is caught.

Taylor said the coaches have driven this bit of knowledge into their players’ heads.

“One thing that’s really impressive is they’re really good about throwing to the uncovered receiver,” Taylor said.

Defensively, Trinity runs out of a 3-4 scheme, a scheme Straughn is all to familiar.

“We never really know (what the defense will give you) until we line up for the first time,” he said. “Several weeks ago, Miller walked their guys up,” he said. “At this point of the year, the kids have a pretty good idea what to do on defense. We need that communicated.”

Ragsdale said the Wildcats will need to stop Short from making key plays.

“With a young man like that, you can’t really contain him,” Ragsdale said. “What we hope we can do is minimize explosive plays, trying to keep them down. He’s a play maker.”

And if Short doesn’t get the play off like he wants to, he’ll utilize Scott or Nigel Byrd, Ragsdale said.

Kick off tonight is at 7.