Red Devils look to slow Wildcats’ star

Published 9:43 pm Thursday, November 15, 2012

When a team’s offense is geared around one player in particular, it seems that it would be easy to game plan the defense around that player to shut them down.

Note the keyword there: “seems.”

In reality, it’s not that simple. Especially when you face the leading rusher in the entire state, regardless of classification.

Which is what Maplesville will be doing Nov. 16 when it hosts the St. Luke’s Wildcats and their star running back, George Payne. Payne, a senior, has rushed for over 2,000 yards and 34 touchdowns on the season, averaging over 200 yards a game.

“We have to tackle Payne,” said MHS coach Brent Hubbert. “He’s the second leading rusher in the southeast. He’s gone through games without being tackled.”

Hubbert said that while their offense is anything but one dimensional, it starts and stops with the run.

“Their quarterback does a good job of getting the ball to the receivers,” he said. “But you have to tackle Payne.”

The Devils are quite capable of putting up numbers in their own right, such 47.8 –the number of points the Devils are scoring per game. They’ve also posted three shutouts, in addition to allowing just 10.6 points per game through 11 games this year.

The Wildcats have an amazing playmaker on offense, but the Red Devils will have their own advantage: playing on their home field.

“We’re playing in a familiar setting, and hoping for a good crowd,” said Hubbert.

Hubbert said he felt the game would come down to efficiency in every facet of the game.

“Both teams will play hard, but the team that executes on offense, tackles well and [executes] in the kicking game will win,” he said.