The East Lincoln Mustangs (2-8, 1-5 Big South 3A) knows that nearly everyone is not giving them a chance against the South Point Red Raiders (7-2, 5-1 BS 3A). So what they have is a Tupac â€˜Me against the worldâ€™ mentality.
The game may not be important in terms of the 3A State Playoffs for the Mustangs already having been mathematically-eliminated, but it is important because Friday night is senior night and will be in front of their home crowd.
East Lincoln head coach Matt Rikard believes last week against the East Gaston Warriors there were plenty of chances inside the 20-yard line that they did not capitalize on.
â€œWe need to take advantage of the times we are in the red zone. We were inside the red zone three times last week and didnâ€™t come away with any touchdowns,â€ he said.
Of course turnovers could play a huge role in Fridayâ€™s game as it has all year for the the Mustangs.
â€œWe have to make sure we control the ball. Weâ€™re kinda going in with the same gameplan that we had when we played East Gaston,â€ Rikard said.
The Red Raiders, led by linebacker Shrine Bowl selection Andrew Rinehart, run an aggressive 4-3 defense.
â€œTheir linebackers and secondary is probably their strong point. Heâ€™s (Rinehart) very good. Their secondary just flies to the ball and has great team pursuit,â€ Rikard said.
Itâ€™s unclear what kind of role Grayson Schram will play in East Lincolnâ€™s game plan. It is clear they will run the wishbone offensive set.
Rinehart is also the orchestrator of the Red Raidersâ€™ offense playing quarterback.
â€œThe quarterback is the guy that makes all the calls on the line and makes great reads when heâ€™s running the option. He throws the ball well too,â€ Rikard said.
Rikard and his coaching staff also has taken notice of running back Bryan Jennings, who surpassed the 1,000 yard mark last week against North Gaston.
â€œHeâ€™s good. Anytime he turns the corner on you, itâ€™s over. On the tape we watched, nobody caught him. Not only can they outrun you, but they can run over you,â€ he said.
â€œItâ€™s probably going to be our biggest challenge of the year because of the versatility of their offense,â€ he added.
Given the fact itâ€™s senior night, the Mustangs want to prove everybody wrong and, win or lose, go out in a solid manner according to the coach.
The seniors want to go out on a good note. A good note would be to go out there and play a tough-nosed football game. Theyâ€™ve done a good job all year and I would hate for them to go out and not give it their all in their last game, but I know they wonâ€™t,â€ Rikard said.
by John Mark Brooks