Tuesday, October 19, 2010

SPORTS>>Beebe hopes to secure home


Leader sportswriter

Controlling your destiny is one thing.

But with a victory over Greene Co. Tech on Friday, Beebe not only controls its destiny, the Badgers can also set their location in Week 11.

The Badgers will host the Eagles (4-3, 3-1 5A-East), whose only conference loss was to Wynne, a team Beebe beat two weeks ago.

Beebe, 4-3, 4-0, is coming off another dramatic victory in a 51-50 overtime comeback against Blytheville. It was a stark contrast from the 7-0 defeat of Wynne the week before.

A victory for Beebe this week means an automatic playoff berth, and with struggling Nettleton and unbeaten Batesville left to play in the final two weeks of the regular season, it also points to a showdown with Batesville in Week 10 to decide the top two seeds.

“Yeah, that’s the way we’re seeing it,” Beebe coach John Shannon said.

Greene Co. Tech’s fortunes have almost mirrored that of Beebe’s this season. The Eagles struggled to a 1-2 start in non-conference play before opening league action with a 42-22 victory over Forrest City. The Eagles rebounded from a 19-8 loss to Wynne in Week 5 with victories over Blytheville and Nettleton.

“They’re a lot like us,” Shannon said. “They probably don’t have the best athletes in the world, but they have good fundamentals and are well coached. They do all the little things right.”

Senior quarterback Clayton Davis, 6-3, 210 pounds, leads the Eagles’ Spread offense. Greene Co. Tech also has a solid running game led by 210-pound fullback Tyler Morgan. Shannon sees similarities offensively to private school powerhouse and defending 4A state champion Shiloh Christian.

“They run that Shiloh-type offense, and they do it pretty good,” Shannon said. “Their quarterback throws good, and he can run it. It’s probably all going to come down to the team that makes the fewest mistakes.”

The Eagles will have to stop Beebe senior fullback Colby Taylor, who has rushed for an average of 147.8 yards a game since the start of conference play, including a 208-yard performance during last week’s victory at Blytheville.

Beebe’s defense made a statement by shutting out a physical Wynne team two weeks ago, but gave up 50 points to the Chickasaws last week.

“Typically, we’re better at home,” Shannon said. “But the biggest thing last week was that they were so much more athletic then we were. We got in position to make plays, and they made a move and got out of it. We were fortunate enough to be able to move the ball and score when we did.”

The Badgers have won big games against physical teams since the start of conference, and have done it without losing players to injuries. Junior defensive end Eric McGlothlin suffered a concussion at Blytheville last week, but Shannon expected him to return to practice early this week.

Home field advantage is always a goal for teams clinching early playoff berths. Assuming the Badgers have little problem with Nettleton next week, the outcome of the Greene Co. Tech game will most likely determine whether or not the Badgers hit the road or stay home at Bro Erwin Stadium in Week 11.

“We feel like if we just take care of business, we’re guaranteed at least second place,” Shannon said. “Who would have thought we’d shut out Wynne and then give up 50 points to Blytheville?

“It just shows you that it’s a different game every week. We just have to go out there and try to get a win.”