Four Downs: Week Two

Herald File Photo
Forest Park senior Trey Toby runs the ball in 2019 against Perry Central. Rangers coach Ross Fuhs liked the game Toby had in the 20-7 win Aug. 21 at Princeton.

Four Downs: Week Two

Here’s a preview of Friday’s games for our local teams.

Warriors at Wildcats

Teams: Evansville Harrison at Jasper, 7:30 p.m., Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium

Series: Tied 3-3

Last meeting: Jasper got the better of Evansville Harrison in the sectional opener, 34-12, on Oct. 19, 2018.

1. Jasper upset Evansville Memorial Aug. 21 in the season opener, but despite this, the Wildcats also lost three fumbles and threw an interception. Wildcats coach Tony Lewis told the Herald on Monday that a team would be lucky to win the game if they turn the ball over four times. Some of those fumbles came off of missed pitches on the option. Lewis said Jasper always works on the fine points of the option, but it was really something to emphasize this week. He added the Wildcats need to have the football high and tight to their body when it comes to ball security.

2. Lewis told his players on Saturday that they’ll get a lot of pats on the back, but that it’s a new day and it was time to move on. The Wildcats are going from one of end of the spectrum from the reigning Class 4A state champion Memorial to a Harrison team that went winless in 2019 and lost its 17th consecutive game in the season opener at Evansville Reitz, 52-26.

3. The Warriors may have surrendered 52 points to the Panthers, but one might not know that looking at their run game. They rushed for 145 yards on 224 total yards of offense. Harrison has different options it can look to out of the backfield in sophomore Albert Wadlington and juniors Billy Sears and Garrett Whipple. The Wildcats themselves gained 256 yards against the Tigers, while the Warriors allowed 315 yards on the ground against the Panthers.

4. “They do a good job of running zone and what I’d call counter trey, where they’re going to pull two people,” Lewis said of Harrison’s offense. “I thought they were very effective running the football. They had some shots down the field. Passing-wise, they hit some slants and a fade in the end zone as well. Harrison is a very athletic team. We’ve got to do a good job of taking away the run game and making them one-dimensional and have to throw the football.”

Raiders at Pioneers

Teams: Southridge at Boonville, 7:30 p.m., Bennett Field

1. Southridge pitched a shutout in its 28-0 season opener Aug. 21 against Linton-Stockton at Raider Field. Raiders coach Scott Buening praised his defense for playing hard and fast against the Miners. He lauded the job they did pursuing the ball and trusting their keys. Buening thought they did well in the number of hats they had around the football.

2. The Raiders will get a look at Boonville senior running back Devin Mockobee this week. Mockobee totaled five touchdowns in the 48-6 season opener win at Washington, and he is committed to continue his football career at Navy. Buening saw some of Mockobee on film during the weekend, taking notes of how fast of a runner he is. He knows the senior running back for the Pioneers will be a “total handful.”

3. Southridge will also get a look at junior quarterback Mason Phillips, who is new to quarterback this year from wide receiver, but he knows the offense and the system, since his brother, Jackson, previously quarterbacked the team. Buening sees a quarterback that looks the part and does a good job distributing the football.

4. “We’re just going to have to play really good team defense,” Buening said. “That’s something that we try to take a lot of pride in. We got to get a lot of guys to the ball, and (I) really believe a good tackling team is a good pursuing team. (Mockobee’s) not a kid that you can just get one guy to and think that you’re going to be able to slow him down. We got to get a lot of hats to the ball and we’re going to have to do it play after play.”

Rangers at Commodores

Teams: Forest Park at Perry Central, 7:30 p.m.

Series: Tied 5-5

Last meeting: Forest Park downed Perry Central, 30-20, in 2019

1. Forest Park allowed one touchdown and that was it against Princeton to earn its first Week One win since 2011, since Terry Wagner was the coach. Current coach Ross Fuhs thought his Rangers played disciplined football against the Tigers, managing to especially wear Princeton down in the second half.

2. The Rangers used their senior rushing attack to help thwart the Tigers. Jake Begle notched 20 carries for 71 yards and a touchdown, but Daniel Eckert racked up 134 yards himself on 11 touches, while Fuhs added that Trey Toby, who rushed for 41 yards on seven carries, had a nice game himself. He thinks Eckert will be a consistent threat this season because a lot of opposing teams will load up on Begle, but loading up on Begle too much would also make Eckert a nice option.

3. The Commodores were shut out in the season opener, 35-0, against Tell City. Fuhs believes the Rangers have to slow down senior quarterback Cameron Bland first and foremost. Bland is a four-year starter at Perry Central who is a dual-threat quarterback and knows Forest Park also need to tackle some fast Commodores in the backfield. He planned on increasing the tackling drills in practice this week.

4. “It all comes down to playing good, disciplined football once again,” Fuhs said. “We’ll definitely have to do that. We’ll have to definitely tackle better if we’re going to shut these guys out. Like I said, their quarterback’s a really nice player, and they’ll mix up. They run a lot of play action — boot passes. So, it’s really going to come down our defense once again and playing really good, smart, disciplined football.”

Patriots at Marksmen

Teams: Heritage Hills at Tell City, 8:00 p.m. at Legion Field

Series: Heritage Hills owns a 30-8 record in the last 36 years.

Last meeting: Heritage Hills won, 42-6, Aug. 30, 2019

1. Something happened on Aug. 21 that doesn’t happen often. Heritage Hills’ 24-14 loss to Mount Vernon was the first time the Patriots fell to the Wildcats since 1999. The last time Heritage Hills lost to Mount Vernon before 1999 was in 1981. One contributing factor was the team’s five turnovers — four of them off of lost fumbles.

2. Heritage Hills coach Todd Wilkerson told the Herald on Monday that ball security is always an issue in practice, but it was going to be highlighted more this week. He said that some small details need to be better, such as pursuit angles, alignments and to adjust responsibilities when understanding what the opponent is doing to them. However, Wilkerson also thought some things were good, such as the Pats doing an okay job running the ball, and the passing game made some big plays against Mount Vernon.

3. The Marksmen had five straight losing seasons from 2014-2018, but the Marksmen are trying to foster a turnaround after going 5-5 in 2019 and starting 2020 1-0. Tell City boasts a number of options who can get touches in the backfield. The Marksmen had six different rushers against the Commodores, with Bren Miller leading the way with 82 yards. The Pats will get a look at junior Aden Dodson, an experienced quarterback who held the position as an underclassman.

4. “They’re a flexbone option team just like we are,” Wilkerson said. “In terms of practice, we’ll be familiar with some of the things they do. Schematically, they do a few things a little bit differently than we do, but we know it’s a difficult offense to defend and everybody’s got to do their job. That’s the key is getting our guys locked into, making sure we get back to team defense, everybody’s going to do your job and getting guys to the ball as they can get there.”

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