Bobcats, Tigers meet for season’s 1st cross-county match up

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 28, 2015


In the first cross-county football match up of the season, the Opp Bobcats will look to remain unbeaten and the Straughn Tigers want to open up the season with a win.


This will be the 12th time that Straughn and Opp have tangled on the gridiron. Straughn owns a 10-1 record against the Bobcats, winning last year’s contest 46-28.


Both teams went on to enjoy successful seasons in 2014, making it into the third round of the state playoffs.


Coaches for both squads know that it will be a tough contest.


“Opp is a good team,” Tigers’ coach Chris Wilson said. “They are athletic and well coached.”


Opp’s head coach Brent Hill had a similar opinion about the Tigers.


“From what I saw in the spring, they are well coach and they were clicking on all cylinders,” Hill said. “We know that they want to establish the run, and they have a mobile quarterback that can throw the ball.”


Hill said that the line of scrimmage will be the turning point.


“The key is for us to establish the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball,” Hill said. “Last year, they came out and punched us in the mouth and we didn’t respond. This will be a fun challenge for us.”


The Bobcats offense will be what has been since Hill took over as head coach.


“We are going to do the same things that we always do,” Hill said. “It just depends on what the defense gives us.”


Wilson said that the Tigers will have to do their best to negate the Opp rushing attack.


“They are a run first team,” Wilson said. “They have three or four good running backs, and a very good quarterback. We have to make sure we are in the right places. The best thing we can do is to control the clock, and keep their offense off the field.”


At practice this week, both teams took the time to fine tune parts of team.


“We had a good week of practice,” Wilson said. “We were disappointed that we didn’t get to play last Friday, and the kids are really looking forward to it. It’s like a natural rivalry for us. This is kind of for bragging rights.”


Hill said Opp also had a good week of practice.


“Tuesday was kind of shakey for us,” Hill said. “But Wednesday was good, and then Thursday was just our walkthrough day. For whatever reason, Straughn has had our number in the past. It’s just a fun opportunity for us, and that is how we are looking at it.”


One thing that Hill said was important for his players to focus on was to not get caught up in the drama.


“We are not going to get caught up in the trash talk,” Hill said. “That is one thing that we have stressed this week in practice. There is no reason for us to get uptight. At the end of the night, the best team will win. If they beat us because they are better than us, that is fine, but we can’t just give it away by getting caught up in the emotions of the game.”


Wilson said his Tigers feel like they are up for the challenge of taming the Bobcats.


“The kids are confident,” Wilson said. “They want to prove what they can do on the field. We are up to task of stopping them, and moving the ball on their defense. Whoever executes best tomorrow night will win.”


The key for the Tigers would be execution Wilson said.


“Execution is the key,” Wilson said. “Knowing our assignments and communicating on the field. It is crucial that we are all on the same page.”


Hill said that stopping the Tigers on offense will be the key to the Bobcats’ success.


“We have to win the game up front,” Hill said. “It’s important for us to stop the run, and force them to throw it. We know they want to establish the run, and we have to be able to stop it. We can bend, but not break. We can’t give it to them with mistakes. If they beat us, we have to make them earn it.”


The Bobcats and Tigers will kickoff tonight at 7 p.m., at Straughn High School.