Tribe’s defense holds firm, readies to defend Oak Mountain’s optionPublished 10:00am Thursday, September 5, 2013
Wetumpka High kicked off the new season with a win over Robert E. Lee last week at Hohenberg Field.
The Tribe looks to pick up its first region win of the year this weekend with a first-time road trip to Oak Mountain.
“We are going to have to travel, that’s inevitable,” said Indians coach Tim Perry. “We are going to have to learn how to handle all the things that go with it.”
Last year, the Eagles defeated the Indians 36-14 on a night which Wetumpka simply couldn’t stop the Oak Mountain option attack in the second half.
“It was a game of two halves, really,” said Perry. “We were up in the first half. And then they came out in the second half and established the run game with the option and a lot of quarterback runs. We are preparing for that.”
The Eagles, under the leadership of second-year head coach Cris Bell, rattled off five Region 4 victories in 2012.
This year’s Eagles will be without the services of two-year starter at quarterback Jake Adams (2012 graduate) and running backs Scott Hester (fullback) and Antwon Williams (running back).
Overall, the Eagles return three starters on offense Josh Gaines and Harold Shader (backs) and Jacob Wade (OL).
“The option offense is difficult to prepare for because it’s hard to simulate in practice,” said Perry. “Our guys are used to seeing the spread. Our offense is spread-based. We can simulate that.”
The Indians defense did hold Lee to 100 yards of total offense in Friday’s 34-7 win.
“Defending the option is different because it requires you to play assignment football,” said Perry. “You’ve got to have a man assigned to cover pitch, dive and quarterback. There can’t be any breakdowns. Our defensive coaches spent the weekend and have worked hard to put together a gameplan for this weekend.”
That gameplan will more than likely call for a heavy dose of what made Wetumpka successful the week prior — controlled aggression.
“Our defense did an excellent job of running to the football,” said Perry. “Our guys played at a high level and I think we are tackling much better than we were this time last season.”
The defense actually put the first point of the night on the board when Hunter Reese had the ball thrown right at him, like he was running a short hitch route.
Reese fielded the pass like a tight end, planted his foot and sprinted into the end zone for the touchdown.
“Hunter Reese has that knack of being around the ball and making plays,” said Perry. “You can look at the defense and see they are more comfortable in their roles and they understand the scheme. That allows them to play faster. They don’t have to analyze the process, they can just react.”
While the defense kept the Generals from marching into Wetumpka’s end zones, it was the Tribe’s offense that took control of the game. OJ Jackson and Charlie Crenshaw combined for multiple touchdowns and nearly 250 yards rushing.
“I thought Sammy (Britton, quarterback) did a good job managing the offense,” said Perry. “He put us in good situations. He missed a couple of reads, but you’ve got to think, this was his first varsity experience. I’m pleased with his process.”
Perry was also pleased with the blocking of the offensive line and the wide receivers.
“Our offensive line did a good job of controlling the front,” said Perry. “I’m proud of Coach (Bill) Harris and the progress they’ve made. I thought our wide receivers did a good job of blocking downfield. I know, to them, that’s not very glamorous because they like to catch passes. But I thought they responded positively to the challenge.”
And because of their upfield push, the Indians were able to stretch a handful of run plays into to points.
Kickoff for Friday night’s game set for 7.