Showdown in O-town

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, August 27, 2014

0827 spt-Ty White, fumble

Opp’s Ty White forces a fumble during the first quarter of the Bobcats victory over Luverne last week. The Bobcats and Tigers will face off Friday in rivalry action. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Channel-Lee Stadium in Opp will be rocking this Friday night as the Bobcats host Straughn in a regular-season contest.

This game will mark the 11th meeting between the two teams, who spent the last two seasons competing against each other in Class 3A, Region 1 play. OHS is still in the same region, but the Tigers moved up to Class 4A after the most recent reclassification and realignment.

Straughn owns the series, 9-1. Last year, the Tigers throttled the Bobcats 49-21 at SHS.

Bobcats head football coach Brent Hill knows what he’s up against this week.

“Well, historically speaking, they’ve dominated the series,” Hill said. “(SHS head football) Coach (Trent) Taylor has obviously done a good job of coaching them. They’re very sound offensively and defensively.”

Opp will enter this week’s game with one regular season contest already under its belt. The Bobcats beat a good Luverne team, 36-26 last Thursday.

This week is Straughn’s season opener. The Tigers came back to beat Brantley 48-38 in a preseason jamboree game.

Typically, the Tigers play rival Andalusia during their week one, but Region 2 play dictates they meet on Fri., Oct. 24.

“It ought to be a lot of fun,” Taylor said. “This should be good for us. Unfortunately, the things we didn’t do well (against Brantley) are things that offensively they (the Bobcats) can take advantage of.

“Defensively, they’re just blitzing from every where. It’s tough on any level, especially this time of the year when linemen are still feeling everything out,” he said. “They certainly present a lot of challenges.”

Opp quarterback Orlando Lacey, sophomore Hennis Washington and Raheem Bonam are just a few of the weapons Taylor said the Bobcats have in their arsenal.

When asked what he thinks about when he hears those names, Taylor said one thing — speed.

“It’s a challenge anytime you face it,” he said. “Although they didn’t show it a whole lot because they didn’t have to; they have a pretty good group of receivers. Those guys are capable of running to get open and are certainly capable of running after the catch. We’ve definitely got to do a better job on the receiving end this week. Hats off to their offensive line they played real well (against Luverne). They did a good job of picking up blitzes.”

The Tigers’ offensive weapons are quarterback Rollin Kinsaul and running back Daryl George. Both received plenty of playing time during the varsity portion of the jamboree against Brantley.

Hill said they key to stopping both threats is to stay assignment-oriented on defense.

“You have to be gap sound,” Hill said. “That’s one of our goals to improve on from last week. You’ve got to be on the same page. If you’re not, then they’re going to wear you out.”

Hill said from viewing film, Straughn’s defense has given the coaching staff something to work with offensively.

The big key on defense this week for SHS is to tackle well in space, Taylor said. On offense, it’s taking care of the ball. The Tigers let go three turnovers — one in the red zone — against Brantley.

Taylor said it was good to see front lines respond well during the jamboree.

“We had a pretty good idea offensively what they were going to do, although they were doing a lot of things differently,” he said. “Defensively, they were in a whole different front. I think that was what I was most proud of — our offensive line never seemed to miss a beat.”

During their opener against LHS, the Bobcats were without junior multipurpose player Ty White for the entire second half because of an injury.

Hill said White got a little “banged up” and is good to go for the game this week.

Kick off in Opp is set for 7 p.m.