Bobcats geared up for region-opener at Straughn

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 2, 2016

Orlando Lacey readies for the snap from center Tanner McCurley. Corey Williams/Brewton-Standard

Orlando Lacey readies for the snap from center Tanner McCurley.
Corey Williams/Brewton-Standard

The No. 3-ranked Opp Bobcats (1-0) are prepped and ready for the first Class 3A, Region 2 contest of the season when they travel to Straughn on Friday to take on the Tigers (1-0).

“They are coming into the game undefeated,” Opp head coach Brent Hill said. “I expect them to be one of the top teams in our region. They are new to the region, but they have been used to competing in 4A.”

Hill said that Straughn seems to be playing on all cylinders early in the season.

“They are running the ball really well right now,” Hill said. “Last week, they rushed for more than 600 yards against Brantley, and we all know that Brantley is a good team. They seem to playing with a lot of chemistry and confidence.”

Opp’s defense will have to force Straughn into long yardage situations, Hill said.

“They are run dominate team,” Hill said. “They do a good job with mixing it up. You have to pay attention to the dive, the quarterback and then the pitch. We are going to have to get them into some third-and-long situations, but that’s not easy to do with how effective they have been running the football.”

The Bobcats can’t strictly focus on the run and forget about the pass, Hill said.

“They can catch you off guard with passing game,” Hill said. “They do a good job of setting it up. We have to stop their run and force them to pass the ball more than they want to.”

On offense, Hill said the Bobcats will continue to do what they always do.

“We are still going to just run our offense according to what we see out of their defense,” Hill said. “We know they are probably going to try and take away our run game. We are going to come in prepared and ready to throw the ball. We are going to be prepared to work on both. We want to get the ball outside and once we do it’s our job to make plays in space.”

This week, Hill said that they have been working on improving heading into the first region game of the year.

“You want to see improvements each week and this week is no different,” Hill said. “We can’t be satisfied with last week. I’ve told them that Straughn doesn’t care what we did last week, or what we are ranked. They are going to come ready to play and we have to do the same. This is the first region game of the year and that is always an important game to win.”

Hill said that he would like to see improvements in a few aspects of his team.

“We have to improve on special teams,” Hill said. “Last week, we struggled with that. Our defense was misaligned and we have to get better at our run reads. On offense, we didn’t block as well as I would have liked. We have to cut down on the dumb penalties that I call ‘drive killers,’ that do just that.”

Hill expects for it to be a hard-fought game, and said there are a few things that his Bobcats need to do get a win.

“In games like this, you know both teams are going to come out and play hard,” Hill said. “Turnovers always play a big role in this type of game. Another key for us is going to be first and second down on both sides of the ball. That third down play is completely different if it’s third-and-short instead of third-and-long.”

Straughn and Opp will kickoff tonight at 7 p.m., at Tiger Stadium in Straughn.