Wildcats’ daunting test

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 3, 2015


The Florala Wildcats (0-1) know that they have tough test ahead of them when they travel to Georgiana on Friday night to take on the No. 10 AHSAA Class 1A Panthers (2-0).


“They are a good team,” Wildcats’ coach Brad Rhodes said. “They are very fast and very athletic.”


On offense, Rhodes said that the Panthers will run a lot out of a spread formation.


“The key for them is their quarterback Jacquez Payton,” Rhodes said. “He is a very good football player. He will mostly hurt you with his legs, but they will go vertical and he can throw the ball deep.”


Rhodes said that although Payton is the quarterback he will line up at several spots on the offense.


“We have been stressing this week the importance of knowing where he (Payton) is on the field,” Rhodes said. “He will line up a running back one play, then wide receiver and the next play he might be back at quarterback.”


Rhodes said that the key to the Wildcats’ success will be tackling better.


“They have a lot of good skill guys,” Rhodes said. “We have to be able to tackle better this week. We can’t give these guys second chances. They are a complete offense, and we will have to play well on every phase of defense.”


Along with Payton, Rhodes said the Panthers next biggest threat is sophomore running back Cameron Longmire.


“They have a good sophomore running back,” Rhodes said. “He adds a different aspect to their backfield.”


At 5’8” 175 lbs, Longmire is more a bruiser when running the ball than Payton, Rhodes said.


Defensively, Rhodes said that the Panthers are fast and skilled.


“Much like their offense, their defense is loaded with speed and skill players,” Rhodes said. “They have one of the fast linebacker groups that I have ever seen. We are going to try and establish the run on them, and control the clock. A big part of our defensive gameplan is to control the ball on offense. We have been stressing to the runners this week that they have to be downfield runners. If we run side to side, they will run us down.”


Rhodes said that the Wildcats have had a good week of practice, and are up for the challenge that Friday night brings with it.


“The kids are excited,” Rhodes said. “They understand the challenge that is in front of them, and they have attacked practice this week at an exciting level. We have had some young guys who are starting to look more relaxed out there after two games, and that is what we are looking for. These boys are just ready to get back out there and compete.”


Kickoff for Friday night’s contest between the Wildcats and the Panthers will be at 7 p.m., in Georgiana.