Cedar Creek may be one of the better 1-2 teams in the state entering this weekend’s home contest against River Oaks. Kickoff from Cougar Stadium is set for 7 p.m. Friday night.
Head coach Matt Middleton’s Cougars are coming off a 33-22 loss to No. 1 ranked OCS in a game that saw the Cougars hold the lead with less than two minutes to play in the game.
And although it was a heartbreaking loss for Creek, Middleton believes it could give his team some added confidence and momentum.
“I will be honest Monday’s practice was not what I expected or wanted,” said Middleton. “But I thought (Tuesday and Wednesday) we came out with our hair on fire. I thought we practiced really well. I do think we have some confidence now. I believe that. I think we are in a situation where we could get on a run if some things go our way.”
The Cougars two losses have come to No. 1 OCS and No. 7 St. Frederick’s (7-6 final score). This week’s opponent is the Mustangs from River Oaks, who enter 2-2 with wins over Tensas (34-12) and Montgomery (48-42) and losses to Glenbrook (59-28) and Delta Charter (30-16).
“They are going to be really well coached,” said Middleton. “Robert Hannah has been there for 35 years. He has been the head coach since 1994. They are going to be extremely sound and coached well. They are just going to be short on numbers. I think they have 24 they are dressing out; somewhere around there.
“They have some young guys playing. I think he does a really good job. That’s not coach speak. I think he is a real good coach. I just think he is in a tough situation right now.”
Cedar Creek has been led by its defense this season, especially tough against the run. The Cougars did give up big pass plays last week in the loss to OCS. Middleton thinks River Oaks will try to line up and run the football.
“They are going to line up in the I-formation,” said Middleton. “They are going to run counter, power, and get after it a little bit. They will get in some spread sets but they are going to try to ground and pound and control the clock.”
Offensively, the Creek has been mostly a run-oriented team led by Jed Worthey, Lane Thomas, AJ Thomas and Lawson Lillo. Worthey rushed for over 150 yards and two scores last Friday night against OCS.
“River Oaks is going to base out of a 4-3 or a 4-2-5 with four down lineman and play cover four,” said Middleton “They will go cover 3 against two back sets. They are pretty sound.”
Middleton does hope the Cougars will start to click a little more through the air, although he is concerned about the weather forecast for Friday night.
“In the past places I’ve been we have thrown it and we have thrown it very effectively,” he said. “That’s what I would really like to do. (Caden) does a really good job of doing that. We have struggled up front O-line wise. But we have gotten better. I think we are in a position to (throw it more). We have been through one really bad rain game, and to be honest it looks like we are in for another one. We just can’t seem to catch a weather break.”
The contest can be heard on 101.9 FM with Kevin Bayles and David Cole providing the call of the action. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Photo: Darrell James (dgjames.photoshelter.com)