Coming off a 26-13 loss to the Ashbrook Green Wave, things donâ€™t get any easier this week for the East Lincoln Mustangs as they face a very athletic Forestview team.
Forestview enters the contest at 3-2 and 1-0 in the Big South 3A. East is 1-4 and 0-1 in the BS 3A.
When asked what will be the key point on offense, Mustangsâ€™ head coach Matt Rikard responds quickly.
â€œWe have to hang on to the football. We had four turnovers last week,â€ he said.
East Lincolnâ€™s passing game had been dormant this season with the rushing game taking center stage. Against the Green Wave, though, the ground attack never got going. Mustangsâ€™ quarterback Grayson Schram connected with Seth Alexander, Russell Mahaffey and Thomas Huntley for 173 yards through the air.
Rikard was pleased with his passing game but believes that against the Jaguars his offensive line will need to assert themselves better in the running game.
â€œWe need to do a better job on the running game this week, but the biggest improvement we need to make is pick up the play of the offensive line. Looking at the film we did not do a very good job against Ashbrook on the line.â€
East Lincoln will have its hands full on defense, facing a Forestview team that is averaging nearly 33 points a game.
â€œThey have a very good option attack. Weâ€™re going to have to play good fundamental football as far as taking care of our responsibilities on the option,â€ Rikard said.
With any option team, the quarterback is the central focus because it all starts with him.
â€œI believe the catalyst to their offense is their quarterback. He does a great job running the option. Heâ€™s as much of a threat to run it as he is to make great reads and make big plays,â€ Rikard said.
East Lincoln has only mustered 48 points on the season. Rikard believes his special teamsâ€™ play will be key against the Jaguars.
â€œWe need special teams to pick us up and help us as far as picking up some of the slack on offense because
we havenâ€™t been able to score,â€ he said.
So how has the special teamsâ€™ play been at this juncture in the season?
â€œIâ€™m pretty pleased,â€ Rikard said. â€œWe had one blocked punt against us, but other than that our special teams have put us
in pretty good field position on kickoff and punt returns and done a good job covering the punts and kicks,â€ he said.
An integral part of the special teamsâ€™ unit has been first-year player Mahaffey.
â€œHeâ€™s done a good job. This is the first year heâ€™s played football in a while and heâ€™s back there returning punts and he does a great job,â€ Rikard said.
by John Mark Brooks