Matt Middleton is quick to say he thinks his Cedar Creek football team has made some great strides since the beginning of the season back in early September.
The Cougars (2-2) will get an opportunity to take another step forward in a rare Thursday night contest when they travel to Sicily Island for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Creek has won two of its last three games with the one loss coming to No. 1 ranked OCS in a game that saw the Cougars lead in the final two minutes.
“I think we are better,” said Middleton. “There is no doubt that we are better than we were against St. Frederick and against Delhi. We have made strides especially on the offensive line. I would like to see us get to play more snaps so we can get into a groove. I look forward to us playing. At the end of the day we want to be 3-2 coming out of (tonight).”
Sicily Island is 1-4 on the season with its lone win over Tensas 14-6 in the only home game of the season until this weekend. The Tigers are averaging only 13 points per game and have dropped contests against Vidalia (44-14), LaSalle (34-8), Ouachita Christian (47-12) and Delta Charter (30-16).
Middleton said Sicily Island does prevent a challenge due to some of the offensive formations they run.
“They are a form of spread,” said Middleton. “The crazy part is they will still get in to the Notre Dame Box just like Joe Raymond Peace’s dad use to do way back when. They don’t run it the same, but they still try to do a little bit of that stuff.
“Single wing. Tailback and two up backs and a half back. They will do that some.”
The Notre Dame Box is a variation of the single wing formation that often features an unbalanced line where the center is not strictly in the center of the offensive line, but closer to the weakside. Players line up in a T-formation then shift to a box formation prior to the snap. It’s an offense that isn’t run very much in modern day football.
“You can’t really emulate it in practice,” said Middleton. “Bottom line is to be successful we need to get enough pressure on the line to create havoc so they don’t execute all their kick out blocks and things. If it was something we had to prepare for for the entire game, that would be one thing. But they do a multiple of things so hopefully that plays into our advantage.”
Middleton gives credit to his offensive line as one of the main reasons for the Cougars reason improvement, citing the work by Carson Riley, Quincy Lewis, Nicholas Thompson, Seth Smith and Jake Smith.
“I think we are starting to understand our schematic advantage we are trying to run,” said Middleton. “We are a zone run team, and they have never run that before. They are starting to understand it. I think by them playing in it more and playing more explosive football, it’s given them more experience and given us a chance to pick up more stunts and fronts.”
The forecast for tonight’s game is promising, something that would be welcome by Middleton and Co. after playing in torrential downpours in two of its last three games.
“Hold on now,” joked Middleton. “If it’s going to rain, it will find us … even in Sicily Island.”
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)
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