Tuesday, October 11, 2011

SPORTS >> Schedule gets tough for Bison

Leader sportswriter

Carlisle’s 6-2A Conference schedule kicked up a notch last week with the first of three local rivalry games, starting with England. The Bison passed that test, winning 30-14 over the Lions. That theme continues this week when Des Arc visits Fred C. Hardke Field.

The Eagles, under first-year coach Dustin Prescott, are down somewhat this season by their standards with a 3-3 overall record, but their 2-1 conference record makes them 6-2A contenders just the same. Des Arc opened league play with a 38-8 loss to Hazen, but recovered the following week with a close 34-30 win over England. The Eagles kept themselves in the conference hunt last week with a 45-20 victory over struggling Palestine-Wheatley.

“They’re a young group, but coach Prescott has those guys getting better and better each week,” Carlisle coach Scott Waymire said. “Des Arc is one of those teams that is going to compete on every snap. We’re going to have our hands full.”

The Bison were in somewhat unfamiliar territory last week against an England team that kept it close through the first half. Carlisle led 8-7 at the half, a big contrast from its first two conference games in which the Bison had all but mercy ruled their opponents by the break.

“It was a tough ballgame,” Waymire said. “They did a good job of keeping the ball out of our hands.”

That scenario could play out again this week against Des Arc, which is now a triple-option team under Prescott. It is a scheme that can be centered on ball control, but the Eagles have also been quite productive the past two weeks scoring a combined 75 points.

But for Waymire, the rivalry aspect takes precedent.

“It’s a big rivalry game,” Waymire said. “You don’t have to worry about records or any of that to get up for Des Arc. They’ve been in every ballgame, and they’re peaking at the right time. It should be a great night for high-school football.”

With most of the Bison’s easy conference tests behind them in the first two weeks of league play with big wins over Marvell and Clarendon, only Palestine-Wheatley remains next week and Hughes in Week 9. But for this week, and the regular-season finale at Hazen, those local rivalry matchups will also be the determining factors in the Class 2A playoff seedings. The Hornets are also unbeaten in conference up to this point, and with Clarendon, Marvell and England remaining on their schedule leading up to the Week 10 showdown with the Bison it could come down to a battle between unbeaten teams to decide it all at the end.

“There’s so much ball left to be played,” Waymire said. “And we have some hard games coming up. We just have to go one game at a time. We want to take care of Des Arc this week. We can’t look ahead.”