Itâ€™s not a must-win game for the West Lincoln Rebels, but it certainly is a needed win as they meet the Newton-Conover Red Devils Friday night.
Rebelsâ€™ head coach Butch Parker understands how important the game is.
â€œItâ€™s a critical game and a winnable game. They platoon but weâ€™re pretty young too and so thatâ€™s a factor,â€ he said.
Coming off a game where West Lincoln only gained 113 yards on the ground, Parker and his staff want to work rushing the football back into the game plan more.
â€œWe have to re-establish the run. We have to be able to run the football because thatâ€™s what our kids need to be able to do to be successful,â€ he said.
Newton will run a 4-4 defensive scheme. Although, Parker would like to run it more this week, he also wants to be able to do a better job passing.
â€œWeâ€™re not a throwing football team. Our throwing is based on our ability to run. In throwing the ball, we have to become more efficient in the air,â€ he said.
The Red Devils will see plenty of Will Tallent, Gene Arp and Paul Chambers according to Parker.
â€œI expect to run the ball more so our backfield will be seeing the ball a lot more this week.â€
The Red Devils run a Georgia Southern double wing on offense with fullback Luke Samples leading the way.
â€œHeâ€™s the workhouse. They base their offense on him. Heâ€™s a real tough runner,â€ Parker said.
Parker points to the fact that the young Newton has had problems putting points on the board.
â€œTheyâ€™ve had trouble scoring points. Theyâ€™re very, very young and theyâ€™ve struggled somewhat offensively, so we just want to make sure they donâ€™t get better offensively against us. Our offense has to help our defense,â€ he said.
The Rebelsâ€™ defense has only given up one touchdown in the second halves of the last two ball games theyâ€™ve played.
â€œOur offense has to help the defense more,â€ Parker said believing that at times the defense is on the field too much.
Newton enters the game having lost five games in a row, but two of those losses came playing Hickory and Bandys close.
â€œTheyâ€™ve played a tough schedule having lost five games in a row. Weâ€™ve played two pretty good football teams the past two weeks, so I think that part is going to balance out,â€ Parker said.
Despite being 4-2, Parker wants to see one thing in particular from his kidsâ€” emotion.
â€œOur young men have to play with more emotion because thatâ€™s a big part of high school football. Iâ€™m sure theyâ€™ve remembered last yearâ€™s loss and have been harping on that.â€by John Mark Brooks