Wildcats look to even record at 1-1 with win over Forney
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Sept. 1, 2005 - Sulphur Springs head coach Brad Turner sees similarities between the Forney team that the Wildcats will face on Friday night and the Jackrabbit squads he helped coach there a decade ago.

Turner was an assistant at Forney from 1991-95, on the same staff as current head coach Kevin Rush. The two teams will face each other at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Gerald Prim Stadium.

"They haven't changed defensively since 1991 when we went there and Coach Rush was the defensive coordinator," Turner said. "They haven't changed - they're the same.

"You always know that Forney is very well coached, and their kids play really hard. They're going to be sound. They're not going to have the speed that we've seen, but they're not going to beat themselves."

The Wildcats (0-1) would like a repeat score of last season, when they beat Forney, 42-0. Sulphur Springs led 19-0 at halftime without scoring an offensive touchdown. It was in the second half that the Cats found their offensive rhythm.

Turner doesn't want to have to wait two quarters for the Wildcats to get in sync after struggling last week by rushing for just four yards and committing seven turnovers. Forney (0-1) is unlikely to use the same blitz-crazy scheme employed by Jacksonville.

"To blitz like Jacksonville did, you have to play man coverage, which would be completey out of character for Coach Rush. He doesn't like to do that," Turner said. "They'll blitz within their front five and they'll do some in-line stunts, but it won't be anything like we saw last week, because speed-wise they don't compare to Jacksonville."

In a 21-3 loss to Aledo last week, Forney allowed just 180 yards of total offense, so they do something right. Aledo scored off a fumble return, and the other two TDs were set up by Forney turnovers.

For the Wildcats to move the ball effectively, they must first establish their ground attack, Turner said. That may mean going to a two-back formation with 200-pound Stephan Petty and 190-pound Chris Person.

"We're trying to get our running game going, so Stephan will get some more touches," the coach explained. "We did a lot of two-back last year against them and had a lot of success against them.

"We can't throw it every down - we've got to get our running game going. Whether it be one-back, two-back or the quarterback running it, whatever it takes, we've got to do better in that aspect."

Forney, formerly a wing-T offense, will use multiple formations as they try to open up things for sophomore quarterback Landon Hartwick and a pair of big running backs, Merkelle Webb (5-11, 210) and Deondre Smith (6-2, 240). Anchoring their offensive line is 6-4, 325-pound center Chad Buckner.

They will run out of the one-back and I formations, utilizing a power toss and cutback sweep out of John Tyler's old playbook. The Jackrabbits rushed for 119 yards on 30 carries last week, with wide receivers Bobby Lind and Tyler Monroe accounting for 68 yards on three carries.

"Forney is well-coached and they play really hard, but they don't have the speed that we saw, so the game will slow down a little bit compared to last week," Turner said. "Our keys are we've got to eliminate the turnovers and we've got to block and tackle better."

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