Wednesday, October 11, 2006

SPORTS >>Chicks right ship before Beebe game

Leader sportswriter

Both Beebe and Blytheville will be playing a very critical conference game for the respective teams this Friday when the Badgers travel north the face the Chickasaws in 5A-East action. Blytheville came away with its first conference win last week against Greene County Tech in a closely contested 19-14 final, while the Badgers suffered a tough loss at the hands of a quick and merciless Wynne team.

Each team sports an overall 4-2 record, but Beebe has the league advantage with a 2-1 record versus a 1-2 record for the Chickasaws. The first two conference matchups were offensive letdowns for Blytheville, but head coach Doug Quinn says he noticed a steady turnaround during last Friday’s win against the Eagles.

“We started out the year pretty consistent on offense,” Quinn said. “We had a little bit of a set back against Wynne and Nettleton, so we want to get back to doing what worked for us early on. I felt like the offense did better last week. The guys did what they had to do to pull out the win. We are headed back in the right direction, but we’re still not there yet.”

Among notables this season offensively for the Chickasaws, is bruising fullback Melvin Brooks, who already has a staggering 1,000 yards of rushing through six games so far this season. Although Blytheville comes out of the wing-T set with a big back, the offense can also be a threat through the air. Junior QB Gabriel Osagie has two favorite targets in wide receiver Gerrett Howard and junior tight end O. J. Collins.

Like many other coaches in the conference, Quinn believes the first two playoff seeds are already spoken for. He does believe, however, that the fight for the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds has a potential to be a free-for-all. Four teams still have a very realistic shot at capturing a playoff berth at this point, and Quinn says the game with Beebe on Friday will be a crucial one for his team. He also knows that with the recent history between the two teams, a win will not come easy for either team.

“Every game from this point on is a big one for us,” Quinn said. “And this one is the next in line. The last two years, the game has been decided by less than five points, and I don’t see it getting any easier this year.

“This is a good conference from top to bottom. Wynne and Batesville are in class by themselves, but after that, everyone else is on the same level of play. Friday is our homecoming, so we want to try and take advantage of that against Beebe.”

Quinn also believes that the game will be determined on his team’s ability to stop the Beebe spread. “Cam Prock has developed a fine form of the spread,” Quinn said. “They have two quarterbacks who throw well, and one that can really scramble. They’re young, but they have got some really talented players.”

A win for the Badgers would put them in the drivers seat for clinching a playoff bid, but a loss could be devastating with powerhouse Batesville still left on the schedule, along with very solid Nettleton and GCT teams to face before the close of the conference season.