RLS, PHS to bring physical fight

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Pleasant Home and Red Level are gearing up a physical contest as both start region play Friday night at Eagles Field.

Both are licking their wounds from first-week losses. The Eagles fell 40-0 in a rout to Cottonwood, while the Tigers lost 19-13 to Choctaw County.

RLS head football coach David Godwin said it’s more than likely going to be a hard-hitting game.

“They’re very big and physical,” Godwin said. “They’ve got probably the biggest offensive line we’ll go against all year. With Austin Chesser up there, I would deem him one of the top two to three offensive linemen in our region. He’s a load and will be a major challenge for our defensive line.”

PHS head football coach Cody McCain echoed what Godwin said about the play up front.

“They have a lot of size up front,” McCain said. “They try to play to that strength.”

Last week, despite the loss, the Tigers went ahead 7-0 early after a strong start.

McCain said he noticed that during film study.

“They look to be playing with a lot of enthusiasm, and the kids really seem to be playing hard this year,” he said. “They seem really confident in what they’re doing. I imagine they’re going to come out with that same type of energy when they come to play us.”

McCain added that his Eagles have to match Red Level’s intensity and energy, and not fall behind early.

Other than Chesser, Pleasant Home has quarterback Jon Cole Chesser who can connect with receiver Troy Fantroy. Additionally, linebacker Carl Whitehurst also could pose a problem for the Tigers.

Red Level’s AJ Nicholson, a nose guard, racked up 10 tackles (six for a loss) against Choctaw County last week.

Godwin said Jon Cole is a versatile player.

“He’s obviously a good athlete,” Red Level’s coach said. “He’s got deceptive speed. He makes sure the players are in the right formations and in the right plays. He’s smart. He’s definitely a force. We won’t focus squarely on him.

“They have good receivers, a good running game with solid backs,” he said. “In reality, just like every other week, we’re going to focus on Red Level getting better. If we do that, I expect us to be OK.”

McCain said Nicholson will have to be contained some how in order for the Eagles to have success this week.

“We’ve got to make sure we have a double team there and really make sure we secure blocks to let the play develop,” he said. “We’ve just got to do a lot better job of controlling the line of scrimmage than we did last week.”

It’s essential to get region play off to a good start, Godwin said.

“We’ve got a goal to make the playoffs,” he said. “To do that, it’s going to be a very important game for us. I expect us to play well.”

The players are pretty excited about this week’s game, McCain said.

“It’s a county rivalry,” McCain said. “So, we expect to have a much better performance that we had last week.”

McCain encouraged all of the faithful Eagles fans and others from around the county to come out to Friday night’s game to not only enjoy the atmosphere, but take in the new improvements to the stadium.

McCain said the goal posts have been painted, a new scoreboard has been added and the stadium looks cleaner, to name a few.

Kick off in Pleasant Home is at 7 p.m. Friday.