Edgewood defense

File / The Herald Edgewood’s defense forced four turnovers during last week’s victory.

There are plenty of similarities between last season and this season as Edgewood enters its second game week. The Wildcats are coming off an emotional high with a win over Northside Methodist but a bigger challenge awaits with a game against Morgan and Edgewood hopes it can change the outcome from last season.

“We’re sitting in a mirror image from last season,” Edgewood coach Darryl Free said. “They came into our place last year and embarrassed us after a Game 1 win against Northside. Hopefully our guys are going to be ready for a good week of preparation and we’ll go over to Selma and give it everything we’ve got.”

Morgan won last year’s meeting 37-0 and Free said some of the players are still holding onto that defeat. The Wildcats saw plenty of improvement after that loss and now they’ll get another chance of proving themselves against a ranked opponent.

“They’ve kicked it around a little bit,” Free said. “Now that Week 1 is over, we’ll find out how much that fire from that performance is still burning. I anticipate they’re going to be fired up and focused and ready for a little bit of retaliation. I hope that’s the mindset for them this week.”

Morgan will have a little bit of hunger of its own as it searches for its first win. The Senators lost their opener in double overtime to Pike Road but Free is not worried about his players losing focus with an 0-1 team.

“They saw what happened last year if we don’t focus so I don’t worry about emphasizing the focus this week because we’ve seen the result when we don’t focus,” Free said. “The only people capable of changing the outcome is us.”

Morgan allowed just 13 points per game last season and the Wildcats are expecting to see more of the same. Edgewood hopes to be more prepared for some of the problems Morgan’s defense can cause.

“Last year, their defense really shut us down,” Free said. “They blitzed a lot and we were not very good at blitz pickup at that point in the season. I thought we got better at it so this year, we think we’re more ready for their defensive schemes.”

Edgewood saw a balanced offense last week but turned to its rushing attack to finish off Northside. The Wildcats are continuing to split carries in the backfield and while having a go-to back could be useful, Free said he wants to keep things as is, especially if it continues to work.

“As of right now, I’m loving keeping guys fresh and rotating guys in and out to give them a break,” Free said. “Like the old saying says, ‘If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,’ right?”

PREDICTION: Edgewood 27, Morgan 21

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.