OHS to face tough Fayette County

Published 12:01 am Friday, November 8, 2013

Opp’s going to need to control the line of scrimmage in tonight’s game, Bobcats coach Jack Whigham said. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Opp’s going to need to control the line of scrimmage in tonight’s game, Bobcats coach Jack Whigham said. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

A “tremendous challenge” awaits Opp tonight for the first round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Class 3A state playoffs, Bobcats head football coach Jack Whigham said.

The Bobcats will be traveling more than four hours northwest to take on the Fayette County Tigers. Last season, the Tigers finished as the runner up, falling to Madison Academy in the state finals.

Whigham said his players know the tall task that’s ahead of them this week.

“Monday’s practice was as good as one we have had in a while,” Whigham said. “I was really pleased with it. Our attention to detail and things we did really stood out to me.”

FCHS enters the first round on a nine-game win streak. The Tigers fell to top-ranked and still undefeated Pickens County, who is a Class 1A team.

Wide receiver Jatevin Madison leads the Tiger pack on offense and is probably Fayette’s best player. Madison has accumulated 805 yards on 36 receptions this season.

“He’s the one they’re trying to get the ball to,” Whigham said about Madison. “They’ve always done a good job of throwing the ball, especially on intermediate routes. That’s been their history.”

FCHS sophomore quarterback Drew Guy (1,352 yards, 11 touchdowns), who started in week two after Hunter Walker went down with a broken finger in the first game, plays a lot more mature than his years, the coach said.

“He has a really strong arm,” Whigham said. “He can throw it 55 or 60 yards, easy.”

On the ground, Fayette’s Jerkyle Nalls is the Tigers’ leading rusher with 1,141 yards on 116 carries.

On offense for Opp, the Bobcats are going to have to make short yardage plays and throw in a couple of first downs on each possession, Whigham said.

“Our goal all week long, and what we’ve talked about all week long, is four yards a play,” he said. “We’ve got to maintain the ball. I have no doubt our defense is up to the capability. At the same time, we’ve got to help our defense. We’ve got to maintain the ball and play field position with them.”

Offensively, the Bobcats must take care of the ball in tonight’s game, Whigham said.

“It was early in the year, and then we went through a spell where we took good care of the ball,” the coach said. “In the last two weeks, we haven’t. Obviously, we lost the last two weeks. On any level of football, high school, college, the turnover ratio is very, very important. Very rarely if you lose the turnover battle you’ll win the game.”

If tonight’s game has some late theatrics, then the Bobcats have a good shot of winning the game, Whigham said.

“Every year, there’s a team that loses that shouldn’t lose,” he said. “It would be good for our team, our year and our program if we pull out a win.”

Kick off tonight in Fayette is at 7.