Drake Baker

File / The Herald Holtville coach Jason Franklin said Drake Baker will be used in multiple spots on offense this week.

After not scheduling a game in Week 0, Holtville’s football team wanted to get more experience before getting an official game on its record in the 2019 season. However, after a rain-shortened jamboree, the Bulldogs have more work to do before region play begins and they will be focused on themselves entering this week’s matchup with Central Coosa.

“A lot of it is going to be focused on us,” Holtville coach Jason Franklin said. “We have to fix a lot of things on the offensive side of the ball. Mainly, it’s going to be pass protections for us. I thought we ran the football extremely well the other night but there are still some things to fix so we have to be ready this week.”

Franklin said he wants to see more consistency on defense and special teams. The Bulldogs were limited in what they got to do during the two quarters against B.B. Comer so they want to use this week to make sure every aspect of their game is ready for next week’s region opener against Handley.

In Friday’s game against the Cougars, Franklin said he expects to mix some things up on both sides of the ball to prepare for anything they might see next week. They want to use some different schemes and scenarios which could become useful for the rest of the season but the Bulldogs are still going to be focused on perfecting their identity.

“We’ll have to preach focus on what mistakes you made last week and don’t let it happen again this week,” Franklin said. “But with it being a true game, I don’t think we’ll have to worry about being focused on the game.”

Holtville will need that focus against a Central Coosa team that has lost 22 straight games. Franklin said he wants to make sure his team does not look over any opponent as the goal is to get better every week no matter who lines up on the other side of the field.

While the Bulldogs are focusing on themselves, the offense is going to continue to see two players lead the way as Drake Baker and Braxton Buck are expected to split snaps again this week. Each led Holtville on a scoring drive in the jamboree and they should have more opportunities to get on the scoreboard this week.

“We’ll split reps again this week,” Franklin said. “There are still more things to work on, both of them are still growing. The wet ball kind of hurt us as far as throwing the football but both of them had us in situations to be successful.”

The coaching staff is looking at ways to utilize both players when they are not at quarterback. Baker saw some time last week at linebacker and he should see even more time at different positions this week as the Bulldogs look to use his athleticism.

“We’re going to do some things with Drake this week if he’s on his series off; he will be in the ball game somewhere,” Franklin said. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see him play a little receiver this week. He probably won’t come off the field this Friday night on the offensive side of the football.”

Despite facing lower-level competition, the Bulldogs are focused on starting the season off right on the defensive side as well. Central Coosa turned the ball over four times in its opener against Winterboro in Week 0 and Franklin wants to see his defense cause those same problems.

“We’ve got defensive goals every week just like the offensive side,” Franklin said. “We want to hold them to that standard. We’d love to see another shutout and to force a couple of turnovers. Keep those explosive plays down and we know we’ll have a good chance to win any game.”

PREDICTION: Holtville 49, Central Coosa 0

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.