Flashes, Wave use different paths, get same results

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 22, 2000

St. Aloysius’ Jim Taylor and Cathedral’s Ken Beesley have more than 30 years of successful coaching on their resumes. Both have helped their teams reach state championship games.

But how they achieved those things are as different as the colors on their uniforms.

Taylor’s purple and gold Flashes take the same approach he used as an assistant at Warren Central a hard-hitting, ball-control offense.

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Beesley’s Green Wave, on the other hand, has developed a reputation for using odd formations, misdirection and trickery.

But, unless he has another trick up his sleeve, Beesley says he’s just running between the tackles out of the I-formation these days.

That’s what Taylor and the Flashes (1-3) are counting on when their rival from Natchez comes to Farrell Stadium tonight.

“I thought they looked mighty good,” said Taylor, who got to scout Cathedral (0-3) when it lost to WC’s JV last month, 28-21 in overtime. “They really look a lot like us. We’ve both played a lot better than our records indicate.”

Both teams feature tailbacks with similiar, straight-ahead running styles. Michael Strickland is coming off a three-touchdown, 193-yard performance in the Flashes’ first win of the season, 54-18 over winless Riverside.

The Green Wave features sophomore Ja’Mel Jackson, who went over the 100-yard mark in the first two losses and was a 1,000-yard rusher as a freshman.

“He looks a lot like their tailback,” Beesley said of Jackson. “Neither of them are blessed with a lot of speed … but they just keep hammering away.”

That’s always been Taylor’s style. And it has been effective. He called the plays for WC’s Class 5A state champions in 1988 and 1994 and he is 2-0 against the Green Wave, who had won 14 of 15 over the Flashes before he arrived. St. Al won 21-20 in 1998 and 47-12 last year.

“That first year was a heck of a game,” Taylor said. “Last year, we had better skill players and we got some big plays. This year, it will be won in the trenches.”

Taylor was pleased that his offense, which had scored a total of 26 points in three games, was productive last week. But it also worked against them. After building a 40-6 halftime lead, St. Al’s starters got fewer snaps than Taylor would have liked.

The Wave is most effective on inside traps while his Flashes are best running off tackle, Taylor said. He also was upset with his defense, which gave up more points than it had all season, mostly with backups.

Taylor said Cathedral is more of a threat to pass than his team.

Beesley, who guided the Wave to the 1A title game in 1993, said his team is working on the passing game with first-year quarterback Bart Lane because other teams have been “stacking the line” against Jackson.

As for the rivalry, Beesley said, “It’s pretty heated. The fans really get involved. I tell my kids, if they can’t get fired up for this one, I can’t fire them up.”

Taylor, whose 1A Flashes will be facing a 2A team for the fifth straight week, added, “It’s a big game for the community. To us as a team, a win would help balance us, record-wise. That would help us mentally.”