FRIDAY NIGHT PREVIEW: Red Devils focus on fundamentals

Published 3:23 pm Thursday, September 12, 2013

When Verbena coach Mike Harris watches film from his team’s two losses to begin the season, he easily identifies the problems.

Harris said the Red Devils have not blocked or tackled as well as necessary in losses to Thorsby, 34-19, and Wadley, 40-7.

“We have got to start hitting somebody,” Harris said. “We don’t tackle very well. We have people in position, they’re just not making the play. We’re not blocking very well, either. If we don’t do those things, we’re not going to win a game.”

The Devils are addressing those issues leading up to this week’s home game against Notasulga (1-1 overall, 0-1 in Class 1A, Region 4).

Notasulga defeated Class 4A Beulah, 29-15, on the road in Week 1 but then lost at home to region foe Loachapoka, 29-0, last week.

Harris said he didn’t expect the squad’s blocking and tackling to be poor coming out of fall practice.

“It was kind of a shock,” he said. “I think it’s a mental thing. I think they’ve got the ability to do it. We just need to get it done.”

Practice time this week is being devoted to fundamentals. While that approach takes time away from other areas VHS coaches might like to focus on, Harris said it’s a necessity.

“We’ve got to get that problem solved before we do anything else,” he said.

Verbena’s tackling will be even more of a priority because of Notasulga’s team speed. If a Red Devil misses a tackle in the open field, the next thing fans might see is a Blue Devil headed to the end zone.

Who will win the Notasulga-Verbena game?

  • Notasulga (69%, 22 Votes)
  • Verbena (31%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 32

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Also this week

Billingsley (1-1) at Autaugaville (1-1)

Billingsley players, coaches and fans were disappointed by their team’s 48-0 loss to rival Maplesville last week, but Week 3 offers an opportunity for the Bears to even their record in region play and build momentum.

Jemison (2-0) at Carbon Hill (0-2)

Jemison’s Panthers are deservedly feeling good about themselves after a 2-0 start to the season, but they’ll need to be wary on a visit to Carbon Hill, a team in dire need of a win after losing its first two games.

Brooklane Baptist at Chilton Christian (0-3)

Chilton Christian Academy hasn’t been able to get on track this season. The Patriots started fast against Marion last week but then allowed the visitors to roll to four touchdowns in the first quarter.

Thorsby (1-1) at Central-Coosa (0-2)

Thorsby will have to put its heartbreaking loss to Tarrant in Week 2 behind it and focus on winning in Rockford against Central-Coosa, an important task because of a looming showdown with region power Leeds.

Isabella (2-0) at Prattville Christian (0-2)

Isabella’s improved defense has been on display in two wins to start the season, but now comes a stiffer test, as the Mustangs take to the road for the first time to face a region opponent that played IHS tough last year.

Chilton Co. (0-2) at Shelby Co. (0-2)

Natural rivals Chilton County and Shelby County find themselves in a similar position: desperate for a win after disappointing losses both in region play and to a non-region foe. The loser finds itself in a big playoff hole.

Maplesville (2-0) at Sunshine (1-1)

Maplesville has been dominant in its two wins to open the season—perhaps surprisingly against improved rival Billingsley. The Red Devils this week should continue their march through region play at Sunshine.