Tuesday, October 26, 2010

SPORTS>>Beebe won’t rest in sprint to finish

By jason king
Leader sportswriter

There are no light weeks for Beebe; at least not in coach John Shannon’s mind.

The Badgers will look to remain unbeaten in the 5A-East Conference this week against a Nettleton team still looking to find its first victory.

It is the second straight home game for the Badgers at Bro Erwin Stadium and a tune-up for next week’s conference finale at Batesville that will decide it all.

Nettleton (0-8, 0-5) has had little to cheer about since takinga 57-0 clubbing at the hands of Batesville to open conference play in Week 4. The Raiders have allowed an average 43.2 points a game.

The news doesn’t get any better for them this week against a Beebe team that has averaged over 40 points a game since opening East play with a 60-14 rout of Paragould.

This week’s matchup looks a bit brutal on paper, but Shannon remains cautious.

“That’s the thing — we can’t underestimate anybody,” Shannon said. “We’re not the type of team that can just show up and win. We’re a blue-collar team, and we have to work for everything we get.

“We have to have a great week of practice every week to go out and have a chance on Friday nights.”

Last week’s 57-27 victory over Greene County Tech was Beebe’s last big test before unbeaten Batesville comes calling next week. The Badgers’ Dead-T offense ran over the Eagles for 562 yards, while the defense stiffened in the second half and drove Tech’s rushing attack backwards 15 yards.

After averaging 16 points a game the first three weeks, Beebe has poured on the offense since opening conference play to improve to 43.2 points per game.

“I don’t really know how to explain it,” Shannon said. “We’re not doing anything different now than what we were then. The offense we run, you’re usually not able to score that many points — usually if you score 35 in a game, that’s a lot. But we’ve had some big runs that led to fast scores.

“But I don’t know other than that except that we’ve gotten a little better each week.”

The defensive numbers are a little more down to earth, but still show marked improvement. Beebe gave up an average 35.3 points through the first three weeks but has since allowed 26.4.

“We could tell a difference in our defense after that Forrest City game,” Shannon said. “We’re playing more sound, and we’ve been able to make our system better with a few adjustments each game.”

Running backs Colby Taylor and Jay Holdway have shined through Beebe’s dominating run through the conference. Taylor, a senior fullback, has rushed for over 100 yards in each conference game, including 26 carries for 180 yards and two touchdowns last week.

Holdway, a junior halfback, carried 15 times for 167 yards and three touchdowns. Beebe’s rushing attack is further complimented by the option abilities of senior quarterback Scot Gowen.

“They’re really starting to come on,” Shannon said. “When you have two or three clicking like that, it just opens up what you can go out there and do.

“Colby’s been hitting off-tackle for us, Jay’s handled our dives, and that’s opened Gowen up for the option. It just allows us to be more diverse in our play calling.”