Bulldogs ready for surging Eagles

Published 1:44 pm Wednesday, October 28, 2015

One would assume that it was smooth sailing for Brantley as the Bulldogs ran away with a 61-19 win over the Pleasant Home Eagles last Friday night.

But Brantley head football coach Ashley Kilcrease’s critical eye found a handful of mistakes that must be corrected heading into the postseason.

“We didn’t play as well on defense as I would’ve liked,” Kilcrease said. “We were a little bit flat after the previous week’s game with McKenzie, and Pleasant Home actually had some success running the football.  We were missing a couple of starters on defense, but still that’s no excuse.”

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However, there were a handful of pleasant surprises for Kilcrease, including a capable second-string offense that kept momentum rolling into the second half after his starters had mounted a 41-point halftime score.

“We threw the ball really well,” Kilcrease said. “We threw four touchdown passes in the first half, so it was a good night on offense.”

One of the key members of the defensive unit, starting inside linebacker Xavious Coleman, will return Friday after suffering from a stomach illness prior to the meeting with Pleasant Home.

His return will be much appreciated, as starting cornerback Parker Driggers remains out due to a shoulder injury sustained nearly a month ago.

The Bulldogs prepare to face a Goshen team on a hot streak.  The Eagles, after a slow start to the 2015 season, have won their past three games and earned a playoff berth in the process.

“They’re very similar to us,” Kilcrease said.

“They started off slow and they’ve been able to get some momentum and play well in the second part of the season.  They’re a good, natural rivalry for us.  We play them in termites, peewee and mini-mites, and our kids know their kids.  They’re going to play hard against us, and we’re excited for the challenge.”

But that isn’t the only similarity between the two teams.

“It’s sort of like looking in the mirror,” Kilcrease said.

“They do some of the same things that we do offensively and defensively, and they have a young group like we do and they started off slow and played better in the end, like we did.  And both of us are wanting to win this game for momentum in the playoffs.”

And momentum is paramount, especially when compared to sitting out players for fear of injury as the postseason nears.

Despite the injuries the Bulldogs have had throughout the season, playing with a sense of competitiveness and a desire to win is equally important.

“It’s just not in my nature not to play to win,” Kilcrease said.

“My belief is this—if you’re not going to play to win, you might as well not even play the game.  It’s senior night, and it’s a big night for them, so we’re going to play to win.”

The Bulldogs will host the Eagles Friday night.  Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.