Flashes try to rebound in Week 2

Published 11:27 am Friday, August 24, 2012

St. Aloysius doesn’t get any time to lick its wounds.

The Flashes (0-1), coming off a 41-7 loss to Madison-St. Joe, open their home schedule with another Catholic school rival as Greenville-St. Joe pays a visit tonight to Balzli Field. Last week, the Flashes were in decent shape after the first quarter at Madison-St. Joe. Then, the wheels fell off the wagon, cracks showed up in the wings and leaks sprang in the hull as the Bruins (1-0) outscored them 27-0 in the second quarter.

St. Al coach B.J. Smithhart wants his players to be able to take adversity, rise up and dish some out in return. He feels that playing a tough non-region schedule is the best preparation for league play, which begins next week against Hinds AHS.

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“You’ve got to pick up and keep playing, it’s early,” Smithhart said. “I think you play better talent, you play two really good teams, the game really speeds up. It’s better than playing two weaker teams and the game would be really slow. Hopefully, it will help us when it comes to district play, because we’re not going to see too many teams better than these first two.”

Greenville-St. Joe (1-0) is a formidable foe. The Fighting Irish return a big line and quarterback Raines Rester, a Tim Tebowesque 6-foot-3, 240-pounder who is a bear to bring down.

Last season, he totaled 1,724 yards and 18 touchdowns passing, and another 528 yards and 17 touchdowns rushing. In a win over St. Al, he completed 12 of 20 passes for 129 yards and a TD, and added 44 yards and two scores on the ground.

Rester passed for two TDs and ran for another last Friday in a 28-0 win over Riverside in the season opener. He could certainly cause problems for a St. Al defense that gave up 397 yards at Madison last week.

“We had him accounted for (last year), but we just tackled too high,” Smithhart said. “You can’t hit him in the chest, because he’s a big, strong guy. We’ve got to gang tackle and get after him.”

Another key for the Flashes will be improving on a less-than-stellar offensive performance against Madison-St. Joe. The Flashes totaled only 162 yards. Elliott Bexley was the leading rusher with 47 yards and one touchdown.

Last season in Greenville, St. Al had 57 total yards and three first downs against an Irish defense that brings a lot of pressure. The Flashes need to have a solid showing on first down to avoid the third-and-long situations that hurt them last time.

“We need to improve on our consistency and ball-handling,” Smithhart said. “We tried to shorten some things up this week and we tried to focus on doing what we do. We’ve added a couple of play wrinkles here and there, but we just want to make sure we get that rolling going into district play.”