FRIDAY NIGHT PREVIEW: Mustangs fight for control of region

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, October 3, 2013

Isabella won its only football region championship in 2002, but with a showdown looming that will break the tie atop the Class 2A, Region 5 standings, the Mustangs can position themselves for another elusive region title.

“This is the opportunity we’ve been looking for,” Isabella coach Scott Booth, in the fourth year of his second stint at the school, said about the chance to take the lead in the region with three regions games left to play. “This is what we’ve talked about since we got started.”

While Booth said he and his coaches will talk to the team about the significance of this week’s game, they’ll try to temper the excitement by treating the week of preparation just like any other week.

“Every game we play is a big game, so we’re not going to do anything differently,” Booth said.

The coach said execution will be a focus this week.

“We won big the other night (45-6 over Verbena), but we still had some negative plays,” Booth said. “We know when we play a team like Lanett, we can’t make those types of mistakes. One play can be the difference, so we have to capitalize when we have the opportunity. We still haven’t played a complete game.”

The visiting Panthers, like host Isabella, will rely heavily on their rushing attack, especially backs M. Bridges Jr. (who averages 9.6-yards per carry, 162.8 yards rushing per game and has scored seven touchdowns in five games) and J. Barrow (8.4 and 104.8).

Booth said Lanett runs a Wing T offense, taking advantage of the blocking of their big offensive line and the backs’ speed to outrun defenses to the outside.

“They remind me a lot of us as far as the type of offense they run,” Booth said.

Lanett will employ a 4-3 defense to try to stop Isabella’s rushing attack, which features its own dangerous runners in DeRodgus Campbell and quarterback Tyler Smith.

Booth said Lanett plays mostly man coverage in the secondary to free up their linebackers to concentrate on stopping the run.

“They get to the ball in a hurry,” Booth said.

The coach said he hopes the Mustangs will be able to create significant plays, such as turnovers.

“Any play could decide it,” he said.

Who will win the Lanett-Isabella game?

  • Isabella (65%, 36 Votes)
  • Lanett (35%, 19 Votes)

Total Voters: 55

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Keith at Billingsley

In a tie for fifth place in the region, Billingsley needs wins—and maybe a little help—to earn a playoff berth. The next two weeks will be critical as the Bears face two teams ahead of them in the region standings.

Faith Christian at Chilton Christian

Chilton Christian Academy now has two wins on the season thanks to Lindsay Lane’s forfeit. The recovery time may allow the Patriots to have success in their last two games.

Maplesville at Ellwood Christian

Maplesville’s players and fans are no doubt still gloating over their exciting win over nemesis Sweet Water. The Red Devils have to put the win behind them, though, and focus on the next game.

Verbena at Fayetteville

Verbena has been unable to find a victory on its schedule so far, and that task isn’t likely to get any easier this week. Fayetteville sits in a four-way tie for second place in the region, so VHS will have the Wolves’ full attention.

West Blocton at Jemison

Though there’s reason to running the gauntlet at the end of the regular season (road games at Dora, Calera and Maplesville in the last three weeks), the Panthers must focus and win this week.

Chilton Co. at Sylacauga

Chilton County and Sylacauga make up two-thirds of the three-way tie for second place in their region. A CCHS win would set up a showdown with Briarwood for the second spot.

Thorsby at Trinity

Three of Thorsby’s four losses have been by one score, a fact made more disappointing when the Rebels consider that they have teams like Trinity and B.B. Comer, who are unbeaten in region play, still left to face.