Physical challenge awaits McKenzie in Pleasant Home

Published 4:58 pm Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The McKenzie Tigers look to secure their first region win against Pleasant Home, but the team will first have to answer the Eagles’ physical challenge.

Tony Norris, McKenzie’s head football coach, said that the game plan for Friday night will be fairly straightforward.

The Eagles’ wing-T offense hides few tricks, but in no way does that mean stopping them will be easy.

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“Pleasant Home is one of the more physical teams that we have in our region,” Norris said.

“They come off the ball and they’ll hit you in the mouth.  It’s straight downhill at you—if you can stop it, you can stop it, and if you can’t, you can’t.

“So we’ve got to meet that challenge this week of being physical with another team and stopping them at the point of attack.”

The Eagles’ wing-T offense hides few tricks, and the key to stopping the attack is in giving 100 percent each snap.

Friday night’s win over Highland Home was a crucial one, even though it wasn’t a region game, as it provided an initial wave of momentum to ride into region play.

But the game also allowed Norris to discover a few small chinks in McKenzie’s armor, regardless of the audience’s reaction or the scoreboard’s evidence to the contrary.

“The biggest thing is that we had a couple of letdowns on special teams, so we’ve got to shore that up,” Norris said.

“And defensively, sometimes the effort was there and sometimes it wasn’t.  And we talked to our guys about that, and it’s the same on offense.  It all looks good to people in the stands and when you look at the scoreboard, but when you look at the film there are a couple of things we’ve got to correct.

“Now they’re things that we can correct very easily, but we’re just trying to focus on ourselves and get better every day and every week that we’re on the field.”

Securing the first region win is a priority not only because of the playoff picture, but because of the ripple effects a victory—or a defeat—could have on the remainder of the season.

“Everybody wants to win their first region game because if you lose, you’re behind,” Norris said.

“So you want to start out with a win and get some momentum going into the next region game.  You don’t want to lose and have to start playing catch-up with everybody else who won the first week.  So it’s going to be important to make sure that we do what we do, and do it to the best of our abilities, play hard and try to come out of there with a win.”

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