Tuesday, September 16, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> McClellan plays host to Lonoke

Leader sportswriter

After getting a big win over rival Beebe of Class 5A last week, the Lonoke Jackrabbits will look to take down another 5A team Friday when they travel to Little Rock McClellan for the final nonconference game of the regular season. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

Lonoke (1-1) has had little trouble against McClellan (0-2) since the two teams started playing one another. The Lions haven’t won a nonconference game since beating hapless Little Rock Fair in week two, 2009. McClellan has won just eight games the past seven seasons.

Despite the team’s struggles on the football field, the Lions always have athletes that can hurt opposing teams if they’re not accounted for.

Coach Maurice Moody is in his second year with the program, and offensively, his team will line up in multiple formations, but will base out of the old Single Wing, which isn’t seen hardly anywhere these days, within the state at least.

“Single Wing, the T, they get under center, they’ll be in the shotgun, they get in trips, quads,” said Lonoke coach Doug Bost of McClellan. “I mean, they’re running stuff that’s all over the board. You really don’t know what to prepare for, so it’s kind of up in the air to tell you the truth.

“To try to teach our scout team guys how to do this in a couple of days is going to be a challenge, that’s for sure. Teams that are real good at that (Single Wing) it is hard to follow. You’ve got to be disciplined.”

Speed and skill players are almost always McClellan’s strengths on the football field, and that’s no different this year. The Lions have two sophomore quarterbacks that can also line up at receiver when not taking snaps.

Dalvron Childs (5-11, 165) and Pierre Strong (6-1, 175) split snaps for the 7-1 freshmen team a year ago, and both may contribute to the passing game Friday. Childs is the better passer of the two, but Strong, who possesses 4.4 speed, is capable of making plays in space.

Bost spoke highly of Lions’ tailback Ezekiel Baldwin (5-6, 180), who Bost said possesses good speed as well.

“We actually played them at a team camp this summer, and their tailback can go,” Bost said. “He’s pretty good.”

The biggest thing hurting McClellan is its lack of size and depth on the offensive and defensive lines, and on defense, Bost said McClellan will line up in either a 3-4 or 4-4, but will blitz throughout.

“They’re going to send about eight every time,” Bost said. “They come after you.”

Bost didn’t want to reveal too much info on how he and his offense plan to counter those constant blitzes the Lions will most definitely bring Friday night, but said he and his staff have some ideas of plays they’ll work on with the players throughout the week leading up to Friday’s game.

“We’ve got a couple of things we’re going to try to look at this week,” Bost said. “It’s going to be tough with them running right at us. They are coming. This is their first home game, so we imagine we’re going to get their best shot.

“They’re going to be pumped playing their first home game. So I think they’ll be ready for us.”

Lonoke’s top two tailbacks, Josh Coleman and Deven Mosely, sat out last week’s game against Beebe with ankle injuries, and Bost said one if not both could be back on the field Friday.