Tuesday, October 05, 2010

SPORTS>>Falcons fighting injuries

By todd traub
Leader sports editor

The tough stretch is over for North Pulaski, which is good, because it couldn’t have gotten much tougher.

North Pulaski played the two, preseason 5A-Southeast Conference favorites West Helena and Watson Chapel on consecutive weeks and it wasn’t pretty.

West Helena, picked to finish second after reaching the playoffs last year, beat North Pulaski 43-6 and Watson Chapel, picked to win the conference after a 10-victory, playoff season of its own, beat the Falcons 59-6 on Friday night.

First-year coach Terrod Hatcher said entering the recent, two-game swing that he was hoping North Pulaski could survive in order to focus on its more manageable opponents down the stretch.

But the Falcons didn’t get through unscathed.

North Pulaski (0-5, 0-2) has been without quarterback Shyheim Barron, out with a broken thumb, and linebacker/running back Willie Frazier, who has had a badankle. Hatcher is expecting both to return soon, perhaps this week.

Marvin Davis has filled in at quarterback and passed 18 yards to Derrick Hart for the Falcons’ lone touchdown last week.

Hart’s score capped an 80-yard, eight-play drive that was the highlight of the game for North Pulaski.

While the top two preseason favorites are in North Pulaski’s rear-view mirror, the Falcons will still have their hands full this week as they travel to White Hall.

White Hall (2-3, 2-0), yet another 2009 playoff qualifier that went 9-3 last season, is coming off a 28-0 victory over Crossett after beating Sylvan Hills the previous week to open conference play.

North Pulaski will have to try to contain Bulldogs running back A.J. Richardson, a versatile player who also can line up at quarterback as well as catch passes. Richardson’s father Anthony played at Oklahoma and Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Bright spots for North Pulaski have been an aggressive defense featuring all-state, two-way player Darius Cage at linebacker. 

The Falcons forced five turnovers in the first half of last week’s loss but Watson Chapel eventually wore down the defense with superior depth and field position.

Cage scored North Pulaski’s lone touchdown in the previous week’s loss at West Helena.

Searcy shut out the Falcons in their opener and Little Rock Christian held North Pulaski to just a field goal. The Falcons are averaging 5.6 points a game and allowing 41.6.