Wednesday, October 09, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Jackrabbits must avoid a letdown

Leader sportswriter

With two conference wins already under its belt, Lonoke will look to go 3-0 in 4A-2 play Friday as the Jackrabbits hit the road for a week six showdown against the Southside Batesville Southerners.

Southside started the season 1-0 with a win over rival Cave City, but hasn’t won a game since. The Southerners (1-4, 0-2) run the Spread offense, the most popular offense of choice within the 4A-2 Conference, and even though the Jackrabbits (4-1, 2-0) run that offense and have seen plenty of plays from that formation from opposing teams, they haven’t seen a team that throws the ball as much as Southside.

“They’re going to be two and three wide all night,” said Lonoke coach Doug Bost of the Southerners’ offense. “I’d say they throw the ball about 90 percent of the time. They’ll throw deep. They’ll throw a lot of quick screens, and from what we saw on film they basically have about two running plays. So they’re really going to be airing it out a lot.”

Southside senior quarterback Drew Moss (6-4, 215) is a three-year starter at the position, and was the first player Bost mentioned when asked what players in particular his defense will need to account for at all times Friday.

“He’s got a great arm,” Bost said of Moss. “We’ve got to get pressure on him. From what we saw on film, teams that were able to get pressure on him were able to make him make some quick decisions. But if you give him time he can complete passes. He can put it on the money of you give him time.”

Bost said that on the defensive side of the ball, the Southerners will often line up in either a 3-5-3 or a 4-4, and like a couple of other teams Lonoke has seen this year, they like to blitz and move around a lot.

“They like to blitz a little bit and move around,” Bost said, “but the last couple of weeks we’ve played teams that blitz a lot. So we should be fine with their blitzes, but they’re going to be giving us some different looks.”

Other than Moss, the big strength for Southside is its 21 seniors, but even with that much veteran leadership on the team, the Southerners still lack experience on offense. Lonoke’s offense in last week’s big come-from-behind win at home against Newport made some costly turnovers.

With at least one publication picking Lonoke to win by as much as three touchdowns this week, Bost would like to see his team work on correcting those mistakes before next week’s road game against the conference favorite, No. 3 Dollarway.

“We knew Newport was going to bring a lot of blitzes and they did,” Bost said. “After watching film Friday night with the coaching staff, we made a lot of mistakes on the offensive line. When we watched film as a team (Sunday), we were able to slow it down and show the kids some mistakes they made.

“This is a good week to go back and make sure we get those corrected. The offensive line’s going to get on the sled and drive. We didn’t feel like we were really driving the defensive linemen very well. We were just kind of hitting and sliding off. So we’ve got some things we need to go back and work on.”

Kickoff for Friday’s game is at 7 p.m.