Flashes ready for Saints’ tricky stuff,’ improvement as tough region foes loom

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 6, 2001

[9/06/2001]n last week’s season-opening win over Greenville-St. Joe, St. Aloysius was good enough to get a win.

But coach Jim Taylor and the Flashes still see plenty of room for improvement.

The offense accumulated more than 250 yards, but didn’t score in the second half. The defense held St. Joe to just 10 points all off of turnovers inside the St. Al 20 and 34 yards, but the Irish were gasping for air by the second quarter.

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Fortunately for the Flashes (1-0), they get to work out any kinks before region play begins next week with a road game Friday night against a St. Andrew’s squad that was blitzed 33-0 in its opener against French Camp.

“I just know we’ve got a lot of work to do to get ready for Mize and Dexter,” St. Al quarterback Dan Muirhead said, referring to the favorites in Region 4-1A.

Taylor was expecting a workout against the Saints, who run a number of different sets on offense and defense.

St. Andrew’s runs the Notre Dame box offense, which relies on hiding the ball and misdirection. The Flashes held St. Andrew’s to less than 200 yards in last year’s meeting, but also managed less than 200 yards themselves.

“They run a box offense, which is very deceptive. It gave us trouble last year trying to find the football,” Taylor said.

St. Andrew’s eked out an 11-7 win in last year’s meeting.

“On defense they’re pretty aggressive. They play any number of different alignments, so it makes preparation difficult,” Taylor said.

St. Al defensive end Hildon Sessums said the constant misdirection would keep the defense on its toes.

“St. Andrew’s is always tough. They run a lot of tricky stuff, so you have to be prepared for anything,” Sessums said.

The Flashes are also preparing to play without starting tailback Michael Strickland for a second straight game. Strickland, who rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown in last year’s loss to St. Andrew’s, is nursing a pulled groin.

Taylor said Strickland may play Friday night, but he wasn’t going to rush him back.

Michael Head, who rushed for 71 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries in the opener, will again see the bulk of the carries if Strickland can’t go.

“He runs with us and everything in practice,” Taylor said. “We anticipate him being able to play. But if we need to, we’ll hold him out another week.”