READY FOR FRIDAY NIGHT: SHS eager to open the season against Headland

Published 12:05 am Thursday, August 22, 2019

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The Straughn Tigers are eager to begin the 2019 season with a road trip to take on the Headland Rams.

Straughn is looking to bounce back from a 2-8 season last year.

Last year, Straughn was out scored 314-112 by their opponents.

Under the helm of first year head coach Joel Williams, the revamped Tigers look to turn heads in 2019.

“I just want to see us play hard and play until the echo of the whistle,” Williams said. “I also want us to play very physical football.”

Williams said that his team has been focused.

“We have had great practices,” Williams said. “We haven’t had one bad practice during fall camp. These guys have come to play every day and they had really good preparation. Like any high school football team this time of year, they are excited to get the season started, but we want to be even keel. We don’t want to get too high when things are going good and don’t want to get too low when they aren’t. We want to be even keel and not ride a roller coaster through the year.”

There a several key factors for the Tigers to be successful on Friday night, Williams said.

“No. 1, we have to play great defense and in order to do that we have to be able to stop the run,” Williams said. “No. 2, on offense we can’t turn over the football. We have to take care of the football. No. 3, we have to win the special teams battle.”

Williams said the team has focused on improving.

“This is our first game or the rebuilding process,” Williams said. “Coming into the summer, we wanted to get physically stronger and change the mentality around here. We have done that. We have to be able to handle adversity and adapt to changes quickly in a game. We have gained tremendous physical strength and now we just have to learn how to handle the ups and downs of a ball game.”

The Class 4A Headland Rams enters the year after a 2018 season that saw them make it to the second round of the AHSAA state playoffs.

Headland scored 422 points last year while giving up only 264 points.

Headland finished the year 10-2 after falling to Andalusia in the second round of the playoffs.

The Rams averaged 35.2 points per game while giving up 22 points per game.

However, the Rams graduated three players who earned All-State honors in 2018.

“They are an extremely good football team,” Williams said. “Yes, they graduated a few guys, but they have 21 seniors and 25 juniors on this year’s team. They haven’t had any problems finding guys that could fill in for the ones that graduated. They are dressing more than 80 players. They are a really good team and they are really fast.”

Straughn and Headland will kick off at 7 p.m., on Friday in Headland.