FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Coach wants to see how Devils perform under pressure

Published 5:27 pm Thursday, September 15, 2011

It’s Maplesville’s blessing and its curse.

In the past four years, the Red Devils have defeated an opponent by 20 points or more 30 times. Only eight games has the margin of victory (or defeat) been less than 20.

The blowouts allow MHS coach Brent Hubbert to substitute players early and often, and young backups gain valuable experience.

That’s one reason to explain how the Devils so far this season look like they haven’t missed a beat even though they had to replace eight defensive starters plus its leading passer and rusher from a 2010 squad that won 12 games.

The downside to all those big wins is that non-competitive games make it difficult for the coaches to gauge just how good an inexperienced team really is.

Last week’s 42-0 win at Holy Spirit was the latest example. The Devils ran five offensive plays—four of which resulted in a touchdown—before beginning the substitution game.

And then the game was called early when the stadium lights went out as the teams took the field to start the second half.

“We went in and had a plan of what we wanted to see, and we can’t see it through,” Hubbert said. “There’s stuff that we can’t see in practice, and we need to see it in a game.”

Still, Hubbert said coaches have been happy with the defensive starters, who have yet to allow a point as a unit.

“We’re doing a good job of getting to the football and making tackles,” Hubbert said. “We’ve just got to hope that continues.”

Also, sophomore quarterback Colby Chambers has made good decisions with the football, completing about two-thirds of his pass attempts.

There have lapses of focus resulting in turnovers, and Hubbert said the offensive line needs to finish its blocks—but no problem seems as troubling when the team is rolling again.

The Devils host Shades Mountain at 7 p.m. Friday.

Who will win?

Maplesville has outscored its first three opponents this season by an average of 39-7. Shades Mountain Christian, meanwhile, has been outscored by an average of 52-7. It’s the recipe for another game that sees the Maplesville backups in the game before halftime. Pick: Maplesville | Picks record: 12-6

Also Friday night

Billingsley (2-1) at Thorsby (0-3)

Thorsby is a young team gaining valuable experience, but the growing pains sure aren’t fun. Pick: Billingsley

Loachapoka (0-3) at Verbena (1-2)

This game will be crucial as the loser is likely out of the playoff picture. Give VHS a slight edge because they’ll be at home. Pick: Verbena

Greenville (2-1) at Chilton Co. (0-3)

Chilton County is desperate for a win, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy to come by against a solid Greenville squad. Pick: Chilton Co.

American Christian (2-1) at Isabella (2-1)

Isabella was impressive in last week’s win at Thorsby, but the Mustangs have yet to see a team the caliber of the Patriots. Pick: American Christian

Jemison (3-0) at Bibb Co. (3-0)

Jemison hasn’t defeated Bibb County since 2005, but the Panthers may finally have the offensive horsepower to pull one out. Pick: Jemison

Chilton Christian (2-1) at Mellow Valley

Chilton Christian Academy is building momentum in its first year to field a football team. Pick: Chilton Christian