A rivalry begins to lose its luster when it becomes one-sided.
Such is the case for the Minden Crimson Tide and Haughton Buccaneers. Sure, the intensity is still there on both sides, but a win for the Tide would certainly boost what seems like fading interest from both communities.
“I mean, it motivates us some, I guess,” Minden head coach Spencer Heard said of stopping the skid. “But at the same time, you have to approach it as any other game. All we need to do is play up to our capability. Last week, we did that defensively and on special teams, we just need our offense to come on and play up to their ability. I don’t want us focused on having not won in so many years; I want us to control the things we can control.”
Against Southwood in week one, the Crimson Tide struggled to sustain drives, but there were several bright spots, such as the Tide’s running game. Minden averaged 5.0 yards per carry on the ground and the offensive line paved the way for that average with a few first-time starters. Also starting in his first game was running back Jamin Oliver. The short but sturdy senior managed to find the end zone on a 4-yard run for Minden’s first offensive touchdown of the season. Coupled with fellow senior Kolby Jackson, who had a good night despite losing a fumble, the Tide have thunder and lightning. Antonio Rivette is scary for opposing teams in the running game as well.
Minden will need all three to churn out yards if they wish to win Friday on the road.
“It’s going to be very important,” Heard said. “It’s going to depend on what numbers they put in the box. We have to be able to run the ball to have success against them; it’s very key. We can build our passing game off of that.”
In addition to Jackson’s fumble, Rivette tossed an interception and Tavarius Edwards lost a fumble. Three turnovers won’t get it done against the Bucs.
“It’s always important,” Heard said. “The turnovers we had last week were drive killers. We can’t do that type of thing. I told the guys we have to eliminate all that stuff. I’m hoping all that’s out of our system and we’ll go out there and play clean and hold onto the ball.”
Haughton boasts a massive front seven and a stout trio of linebackers, much like Minden. This game will tell the Tide coaching staff plenty about what they have in the trenches.
“We were better in the game last week than we were in the scrimmage or jamboree,” Heard said. “I think we just have to continue to progress in that fashion. This is going to be kind of a large stage for them, but we have to relax and let the game come to us. I think they’re ready.”
If the Tide start slow, they’ll need their defense to step up once again and hold Haughton while the offense sorts out its’ struggles.
“That’s not the plan,” Heard said of a slow start. “Anytime you have a defense like ours, you feel like you’re in the game. Haughton is a totally different type of team than what we saw last week. They’re going to try and spread us out and they’ll run it on us when they can. Right now our defense is our strength. It’s a good feeling to have that defense.”
If the game plan comes together and the Tide can defeat the Bucs, it would be a monumental win in terms of momentum going forward.
“Last week was a good win, but a win against Haughton would give our guys a ton of confidence,” Heard said. “I feel like it could carry on through the rest of the season.”