Flashes hitting the road for first of four games

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 26, 2002

[09/26/02]After three weeks at home, the St. Aloysius Flashes are hitting the road.

St. Al (4-0, 2-0 Region 4-1A) begins a stretch of four straight road games, including contests at powerhouses Mize and Enterprise-Lincoln, when they travel to face Bogue Chitto (1-3, 1-0) Friday night.

“We’re on the road now. That’s not particularly a factor, but you just feel like you have to play better on the road than you do at home,” St. Al coach Jim Taylor said.

If they get much better, it could be a long night for Bogue Chitto. St. Al, which is in a four-way tie for first place in the region, has outscored its opponents 146-28. The first-string defense has allowed only six points.

Those opponents have a combined record of 0-15, however, so Taylor isn’t getting overconfident about his team’s abilities.

“A team that hasn’t made the playoffs in six years doesn’t get overconfident,” he said with a laugh. “It’s like I told the kids earlier this week, the better you do the more you have to work because the more people expect of you.”

St. Al is coming off a 49-6 pasting of Stringer, a team that Bogue Chitto struggled to beat 28-21 in the season opener. Since that game, Bogue Chitto’s offense has struggled and the Bobcats have scored only 24 points in their last three games.

“We’re just inconsistent. We’ll move the ball at times, and other times not move it,” Bogue Chitto coach Gareth Sartin said.

The Bobcats’ plodding offense could get a boost from Mother Nature, however. Tropical storm Isidore should be long gone by Friday night, but the ground will still be saturated and could make for a sloppy field that would slow down St. Al’s powerful ground game and cause a few turnovers.

“I don’t doubt it’ll be wet. Wetter than usual. But that’s something we don’t have any control over,” Taylor said. “Bad weather is a part of it that you have to deal with in football. All the years in the playoffs, you usually hit bad weather when you get to them so you have to be prepared for it.”

While Mize and Enterprise highlight the road stretch, Taylor said they weren’t the biggest games on the trip.

Beating Bogue Chitto and next week’s opponent, Salem, two of the region’s weaker teams, would help the Flashes more toward reaching the playoffs than an upset of one of the stronger teams, he said.

And the Flashes know all about losing these games. Last season, they lost 30-0 to Bogue Chitto and it started a five-game losing streak that cost St. Al a playoff berth.

During the losing streak, St. Al went nearly 3 1/2 games without scoring a point and lost to Salem 7-0.

“This is a big game for us. If we want to make the playoffs, we’ve got to win these games,” St. Al center Blaise McMinn said. “This is where we get our respect. This game could turn some heads.”