Tuesday, October 02, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Bison bear down on newest foe

Leader sportswriter

The Carlisle Bison haven’t had much trouble running through their conference schedule after beating Palestine-Wheatley 48-0 in week four and Clarendon 44-6 last week on the road. On Friday, the Bison travel to first-year 2A-6 Conference member Brinkley in an attempt to stay unbeaten.

Brinkley hasn’t had much success in recent years, and the Tigers’ luck hasn’t changed since dropping down to class 2A. Last season in class 3A, Brinkley finished 3-7 overall, but went 2-1 against teams in the 2A-6 Conference, including wins against Clarendon and Palestine-Wheatley and a loss to Des Arc.

“I don’t know a whole lot about Brinkley,” said Carlisle coach Scott Waymire. “They’re new to our conference. Looking at them on film, they’re a very athletic ball club that has some size. Their offensive line probably averages 230 to 240 across. They’re tall kids that range anywhere from 5’10 to 6’3.”

The Tigers have had significant trouble on both sides of the ball this season. In its five games, Brinkley has given up an average of 47 points per game, while the offense has averaged just more than nine. Last Friday, the Tigers were handed their worst loss of the year, a 64-0 beat-down by the Hazen Hornets (3-2, 2-0).

Carlisle (4-0, 2-0), who’s won the conference the last two years, will likely be the toughest test yet for Brinkley (0-5, 0-2).

“They fill out a uniform and look good physically,” Waymire said of Brinkley. “But watching them on film, they just can’t seem to get it together for a whole drive. They may have a couple of drives where they look really good, and then they just kind of fall apart.

“So they’re working to try to get things together, and we’re going to try and jump on them early and work on our stuff. We know we have some tough ball games down the line, so hopefully we can get some young guys some playing time.”

Brinkley’s size and overall team speed will give the Tigers an advantage according to Waymire. But overcoming those types of disadvantages are nothing new for the Bison. Class 3A power Osceola (3-2, 2-0) had the same advantages, and fellow conference members Palestine-Wheatley (1-4, 0-2) and Clarendon (1-4, 0-2) had more speed.

Carlisle was the victor in all three games by being the more disciplined team as the Bison stayed on their blocks to create open space on offense, and simply executed better on both sides of the ball. Last week against Clarendon, junior running back Deron Ricks led the Bison rushing attack with 152 yards and two scores on 15 carries.

Clinton Hampton had seven carries for 53 yards and two touchdowns. Senior quarterback Chris Hart was 5 for 8 passing for 79 yards and a touchdown, and also had two interceptions on defense.

The Tigers primarily line up in a 4-3 on defense, but will sometimes put six up front. On offense, Waymire said Brinkley likes to throw a lot of different looks at opposing defenses, most of which comes from the pistol formation.

“They’re going to run some empty sets and they’re going to motion a lot,” Waymire said. “They’ll do some things we haven’t seen in the past five weeks. We’re going to have to do a good job lining up defensively, and flying to the football when it’s in the air.

“They like to run jet sweeps and throw a lot of screens, and do those things to try and spread the field to put their athletes in open space.”

Brinkley uses two sophomore quarterbacks on offense. Case Harrell is the more accurate of the two, but Cole Sheffer is an athlete that can do some damage if given an open lane to run through. Versatile senior Courtney Swanigan and junior Torren Tucker pace the Tiger backfield.

The receiving corps for Brinkley includes Sheffer, senior slot receiver James Jarrett who boasts 4.5 speed, seniors Tyler Armstrong and McCrory transfer Mark Walker. D.J. Roberts and sophomore Eric Daniels contribute at receiver as well, while senior Deshun Tyler has the ability to make plays at tight end.

Various sources have predicted the Bison to be the easy victor on Friday. Hootens.com has Carlisle projected to win by 56 points. However, one of the many things Waymire has taught his players over the years is to never take any opponent lightly.

“They’re still looking for some identity amongst themselves,” Waymire said of Brinkley. “We have to go there. I’ve never been there so I don’t know what type of place it is. But we’re just going to go out and do our stuff, play our game of football, and hopefully we come out of there on the upper end. Then get ready for a big one next week against Hazen.”