The Sulphur Springs Wildcats go for their second consecutive win, trekking to Corsicana fÅor a 7:30 p.m. Friday meeting witÅh the Tigers.
The Wildcats downed Corsicana 42-21 a year ago.
Sulphur Springs is coming off a 43-9 win in Paris. It was a much-need win that not only evened the Wildcats season record at 2-2, but bolstered their confidence heading into the five game of the year.
"We’re playing better. We have made improvements. We are not where we need to be. We had 160 yards in penalties against Paris, so shows we have things to work on," Owens said. "We are getting better on execution. In the second half against Paris, we put some things together on offense. In the first half, we were moving the ball, but not scoring. We have to keep drives going and put the points on the board. I thought our defense played well for the entire game."
The Sulphur Springs defense will face a test this week getting ready for the power running attack of Corsicana. The Tigers might be 1-3 on the year, but they are averaging 422 yards per game.
"We have been preparing for Corsicana, they have a very good running attack," said Owens. "It's been a challenge to simulate their downhill running attack. Ten or 15 years ago it would have been like facing a passing team. Corsicana will give you an 80-20 mix of run to pass. They are mainly a running team. They seem to have good size on the line, we don't have their heights and weights. But they look like pretty large players."
Owens continued, "A lot of their offense goes through the quarterback. They run some I formation, quarterback keeper. They use a wing look, two tight end formations. All trying to spread you out of defense. Plays designed around him running. Devontay Bell is their quarterback, he's fast and elusive and makes good decisions. He was hurt last year, but he beat us in the playoffs his sophomore year. Bell is a heck of a player, he's explosive, he makes it all go. Bell uses sprint outs, bootlegs and designed runs. Lamontra Owens, the sophomore running back, has come onto the scene he does a good job. They are a good football team."
"Their best player on the O-line is guard Chris Jones," Owens said. "He is a big, physical kid. He has played center. They like to run behind him a lot, he's definitely a player with college talent. So we have to be able to handle him."
For the year, the Tigers have been very successful running the ball with more than a 1,000 yards totaled in four games. Owens at running back has 71 carries for 587 yards, four touchdowns. Bell averaging 6.4 yards per carry with 321 yards tallied this season. Bell has thrown for 259 yards, completing 20-of-55 passes.
The defense for the Tigers is hard to figure, at least which formation they might use the most. Owens said they have used three and four-man formations.
"They had been odd and at times even, so we know we will see both," Owens said. "We have to block and be able to protect. Corsicana has it all, they get after it. They have two talented defensive ends, Darius Watson and Donavon Hailey. They are very active and we have to control them. They can wreck havoc if we let them. They also have a 300-pound nose guard (Daniel Ruiz) who is massive. I don't think he moves well, but he is hard to move. Landon Watkins, our center, will have his hands full with him all night long."
Last year, Willy Ivery of the Wildcats, had four touchdowns against Corsicana.
Owens continued, "Their linebackers are good. The Corsicana secondary has some long, rangy kids who can really run. They lose focus a little bit, I hope they lose it a lot Friday night against us. The big deal is they can run, they are athletic and can get after you. We hope to mix them up a little bit and make them make tackles in the secondary. It will force us to take care of our business."
The offense and defense of Corsicana are not the only parts of the game for Sulphur Springs to worry about. The Tigers have shown they are very crafty and inventive on special teams.
Owens said, "They are very exotic on kickoffs. They use pooch kids, onside, squibs, lots of different things for us to be concerned about. We have to adjust and not let them out-man us. They move one side or the other. They do a good job with the swinging gate after they score, we have to be ready for that. That will challenge our kids to recognize what is going on. You have to use football savvy and common sense. It takes practice time, but in the long run it will be good us that we have seen it."
The coach said he wants his team to continue playing on offense the way they did in the second half against Paris. Sulphur Springs exploded for 28 points in the third period - many points coming in a seven-minute stretch.
"We got going and scored. Then got some turnovers and made the most of them. We had a one-play drive and that really hurt Paris," Owens said. "It was good to see us do that. In the first half we were frustrated offensively. Then we put it all together and played well. We are going to need to do that again to beat Corsicana."
Owens compared the game to a playoff situation.
"We have to travel two hours on a bus, then get off and be ready to play," Owens said. "We will be playing in a big, nice stadium. This is our last non-district game and we need to play well. Mount Pleasant will probably be waiting for us to open district with a 4-1 record. We will have hands full."
Owens said, "Against Corsicana we have to keep our quick tempo. Work on execution and play with intensity. Quarterbck Larry Pryor was 62 passing last week, we need to continue that. We've just can’t afford drops or misread bands on offense. Ivery is running well now. We need to have the people on the field who can make plays. Our expectations have really grown, we know this is our last game before district starts. It's our last chance to see who can play and fill some roles for us. We have two weeks to get ready for Mount Pleasant. All the games count in district, starting with that game."
"It's going to be tough to win at Corsicana. They have a lot of tradition with their program. They have had some great coaches and players come out of it. They have a lot of expectations on this game," Owens said. "They are a blue collar town and they want to play smash mouth football. We'll see how we match up against them."
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