Taylor expects winless Wildcats to pose test for unbeaten Flashes

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 3, 2002

[10/03/03]The last time St. Aloysius and Salem tangled in 4-1A Region play, weather helped the winless Wildcats defeat the Flashes in a 7-0 mud bath.

With Lili’s aggressive move through the area, both teams could be feeling a touch of deja vu as undefeated St. Al (5-0, 3-0) travels into Salem to take on the winless Wildcats (0-4) Friday night.

“We were lucky to score last year before that monsoon hit,” Wildcats coach Kenneth Murphy said. “That helped us out.”

With only three seniors on this year’s team and freshmen projected to see plenty of playing time at nearly every position, Murphy knows his team will need all the help it can get.

“Right now, I don’t know if we have any strong points,” Murphy said. “We’re just not playing good football right now.”

The Flashes are on the other end of the spectrum as they ride into Salem with an undefeated record coupled with a running attack that that has yet to be challenged.

But some things never change.

“They probably got the best team we’ve played. You get the impression they are not too good simply because of record, but they were 0-5 and came up last year and beat us in the rain storm,” Flashes coach Jim Taylor said. “Coincidence, it’s going to be raining.”

The rain shouldn’t hurt a Flashes’ offense that has two 500-yard rushers in Michael Head (539 yards and seven touchdowns) and Greg Smith (542 yards and 10 touchdowns), but a rash of injuries and illness could.

Quarterback Chad Cox and linemen Blaise McMinn and Robert Biedenharm have all battled flu symptoms this week, and John Parks has a knee injury while Head could be questionable with a neck injury sustained after a face mask last week against Bogue Chitto.

Despite the injuries, the Wildcats know they have a challenge that starts and finishes with the Flashes’ running attack.

“We’re going to have to stop the run. No one has done that and I don’t know if it’s possible. They do it well,” Murphy said.

Salem’s record may indicate otherwise, but Taylor believes the winless Wildcats have plenty of scratch in their offensive and defensive attack.

“I think it will really be the toughest test we have as far as having to play a hard nosed football team, and they got the kind of team that is going to bring it at you, bring it at you, and all of a sudden they’re going to run a bootleg or a reverse,” Taylor said. “We’re going to have to defense everything, but still stop the power.

“So I think it’s going to be a tough ball game.”