Flashes, Trojans look for first victory

Published 12:05 pm Friday, August 27, 2010

Last season, a senior-laden St. Aloysius team pounded visiting Tallulah Academy.

But this season, with a reloaded team, the Flashes (0-1) won’t be taking the Trojans (0-1) lightly.

It’ll be the first road test for the young Flashes, who are looking for their first win after a 14-0 loss to Pelahatchie in the home-opener. Tallulah is also looking for redemption and answers after a 38-0 loss to Porters Chapel in Week 1.

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“We sat them down and talked with them about positives to make sure they stayed up,” St. Al coach B.J. Smithhart said. “After we talked about the positives, we talked about what we need to work on. We’re doing a lot of work on the fundamentals in practice, but probably moreso with this younger group. Friday, their heads were swimming. Everything was moving so fast for them.”

Speaking of younger players, the Flashes had seven freshmen get extensive reps in the debut, something that will pay dividends in the future.

“We’ve made a conscious effort to see who can help us come district time,” Smithhart said. “We want to make sure those guys are going to be ready if we need them.”

Tallulah coach Nick Evans saw plenty of room for improvement after the disappointing loss to PCA. Turnovers and missed assignments haunted the Trojans, who also were unable to cash in on some PCA mistakes.

“Anything that could’ve happened last week, happened,” Evans said. “We’ve got to execute better. We missed too many assignments, too many blocks. We’d have the hole and we’d have a guy block the wrong way.”

Offensively, the Flashes need to improve in the ground game after averaging only 3.7 yards per carry. With a young receiving corps that lost top targets Luke Burnett and Blake Haygood to graduation and a new starting quarterback, big plays in the passing game are going to be hard to come by. Quarterback Ford Biedenharn completed 6 of 10 passes for just 31 yards against Pelahatchie in his first start.

The offense has rallied around Biedenharn, who will face an unusual multiple-front look from Tallulah’s defense.

“Their defense is kind of different, but it’s nothing we can’t handle,” senior offensive lineman Tyler Cranfield said. “Ford did a good job in his first game and he can only get better. He had a good game last week and he’ll have a better one this week. As the season goes on, he’s going to get better, as will the whole team.”

Carlton Campbell got the majority of the carries in the backfield, toting the ball nine times for 34 yards. Biedenharn carried the ball 11 times for 37 yards and the Flashes will look to take better advantage of his running ability on the outside.

Despite those low rushing numbers, Evans is impressed with the St. Al ground game.

“We’ve really got to stop their running game,” Evans said. “With that impressive offensive line, they run the ball very well.”

On the other side, Hunter Windham made his debut running the Tallulah spread offense and Evans was pretty happy with his work.

“He did all right,” Evans said. “He got a little antsy in the pocket, but when your line is not pass-blocking, it’s easy to want to tuck it and run. He completed 60 percent of his passes, which is good, but it’s a whole new world for Tallulah. All of their teams have been running teams and now we’re throwing the ball, which is very different.”