Wildcats to face 2A Ariton tomorrow night

Published 12:01 am Thursday, August 28, 2014

Florala and Ariton will take to the gridiron tomorrow night for each’s respective season openers at Matthews Stadium at FHS.

The Wildcats enter the contest after beating J.U. Blacksher 18-16 in varsity jamboree play last week. This will be Ariton’s first game of the season.

“We’re excited to play our first ball game,” FHS head football coach Brad Rhodes said. “We got to play a good complete game last week with J.U. Blacksher. That gave us an opportunity to see us live. Obviously, there were things to iron out. For the most part, I liked the way our guys competed.”

Rhodes added that the boys will have to do a better job of “finishing plays,” while cleaning up the “mental penalties.”

Ariton’s Josh Bell is the Purple Cats’ main player, Rhodes said.

“He’s a good athlete, big kid,” the coach said. “He’s a good mix for a quarterback between being a good runner with speed. He also has a good arm.”

Bell will lead a Purple Cats’ offense that runs more out of a spread, tight wing and tradition option.

Rhodes said Bell, who didn’t finish last season because of an injury, is probably pretty anxious to get out on the field.

When asked what the team can take from last week’s jamboree and apply it to the game tomorrow night, Rhodes said it was a “huge step” to watch film on Monday.

“We got a lot of teaching done,” he said. “It’s been a good week of practice. The players are working hard. You can tell and get a sense of opening week. They’re fired up and ready to get after it.”

And getting a win this week will help the Wildcats keep the momentum going from last week and even from last season, the coach said.

“I think anytime you get a win, it’s positive,” Rhodes said. “It’s a big 2A school we’re opening up with. It’ll be a good test for us. This gets us ready to open up region play with Georgiana (next week).”

Kick off tomorrow night is at 7.