McKenzie faces stingy defense

Published 3:46 pm Tuesday, September 24, 2013

McKenzie School will look to extend its winning streak to five games Friday night when it take on Cottonwood High School, but it will do so against an opponent that shares more in common than a 4-0 record.

McKenzie head coach Josh McLendon said that the Bears share a great deal of similarities in terms of coaching style and talent on the field.

“They’re very athletic, they’re going to throw the ball a lot and they’re athletic out on the edges at the skill positions,” McLendon said. “They have a very good quarterback that can throw it very well, and they’re a well-coached team. We’re going to have our hands full, for sure, and it’s going to be a good test for us to see once again what we’ve got.”

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The Tigers wouldn’t be the first opponent to have their hands full with the Bears.

In four games, opponents have managed a paltry 5.5 points per game against a stalwart Cottonwood defense. Moreover, the Bears have scored 159 points, winning each of their four games by at least 28 points.

And they do so largely through the air, which is a facet of the Tigers’ defense that has yet to be fully tested.

“Since we played Georgiana, this will be our first of what I call a spread team,” McLendon added. “They’re four and five wide sometimes, they like to get the ball to their athletes’ hands out in space and they’re going to spread you out and test you vertically.”

A sound offensive plan is accompanied by an equally-solid defensive game plan, coming from all angles at all times. The blitz-heavy defense is accustomed to interrupting offenses before they even get started, not unlike the Tigers’ own defense.

But the fact that the Bears are a non-region opponent is no reason to take a week off.

According to McLendon, there’s no such thing.

“Every week is important, and every game is important,” McLendon said. “We play the game to win.  That’s what our goal is, and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”

The showdown between the Tigers and the Bears is set for 7 p.m. in McKenzie.