Tuesday, October 16, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Red Devils’ biggest game now

Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville Red Devils’ homecoming opponent this Friday will be Little Rock Christian Academy. The Warriors are 2-2 in conference play and are a hard team to figure based on scores against common opponents.

The Warriors lost 34-0 last week against Mills. They beat Sylvan Hills 28-0, and the Bears beat Mills 28-19.

All Jacksonville coach Rick Russell is concerned about is how his team stacks up against its opponent this week. Russell called the game the biggest of the year. The Red Devil coaching staff have not shied away from presenting that to the players, but explains that’s because of how his team has played.

“We write our goals and objectives on the board each week,” Russell said. “We tell them each week what we’re about and what’s at stake. We tell them if they keep winning, that they put themselves into a position where each game is more and more important.”

LRCA doesn’t have the speed of McClellan, but Russell believes this could be the toughest conference game his squad has played so far.

“As far as matching up with us –what we do well and what they do well – it’s the best matchup we’ve had all year,” Russell said. “A lot of times it’s relative. This team matches up with that team better. This team we’re about to play has a competitive game plan that’s going to be difficult for us if we don’t play great technique and stay focused better than we did last week.”

Jacksonville beat crosstown rival North Pulaski 46-14 last Friday, but Russell wasn’t entirely pleased with how his team performed.

“Our tackling technique was not good, we have to improve our defensive line pressure and offensively we made mistakes in our pass routes,” Russell said. “We can’t be doing that this late in the year. We have to ask ourselves why did that happen in week seven, because we hadn’t been doing those things. Our line pressure was outstanding against Sylvan Hills, but it wasn’t consistent to the next game. So we have to answer that question and go to work to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”