Last week the Minden Crimson Tide started district play in style with a 35-8 victory over the Fair Park Indians in The Pit.
This week’s opponent, Huntington High School, will bring a similar style of football to The Pit, but Minden head coach Spencer Heard thinks this bunch might be better.
“They’re a spread team,” Heard said. “Just looking at them on film, they’re balanced in the run and pass game. Ball security has been their problem on offense. If they hold on to the ball they will be hard to stop because they have some real talent.”
Huntington employs a 4-2-5 defensive scheme that emphasizes pressure off the edge at defensive end. Heard had nothing but praise for the Raiders on that side of the ball.
“They’ve shown a little zone coverage, but mostly man,” Heard said. “Defensive ends are really athletic and so is the secondary. One of the ends is 6’3″, 230; he’s a specimen.”
When the Tide are on offense Friday, they will look to spread the ball around and make Huntington cover the whole field. Not a bad strategy considering the amount of weapons Heard has at his disposal.
“We’re just going to run our stuff,” Heard said. “We want to get the ball in various people’s hands. Sneed, Kolby, Rogers and Tavarius will get touches. Kelcey has been quiet for awhile, Fair Park had a safety over the top of him all night last week, but I look for him to have a good game this week and for us to get the ball in his hands. We just want to play a clean game and limit the turnovers which is huge.”
One area where Minden should have a considerable advantage is special teams.
Pedro Hernandez has been excellent on PAT’s this season, and L’Jarius Sneed routinely put kickoffs inside the 10-yard line against Fair Park while filling in for the injured Justin McCready.
“I feel like we have an advantage in the kicking game for sure,” Heard said. “We just have to keep doing what we’re doing.”
With Huntington’s offense suffering through some turnover issues, don’t look for the Crimson Swarm defense to take it easy, as juniors Zi’Kerrion Baker and Cameron Morgan, as well as sophomore Ty’Christopher Harris have been a nightmare to deal with in the front seven. On the back half, receivers haven’t found much success against Dekeltric Freelon, Kenneth Francis, Patrick Heard or Leo McCarter.
“I’m sure Huntington’s coaches are making it a point of emphasis to not turn it over,” Heard said. “I think if we can come up with a couple fumbles or interceptions it gives us a huge amount of momentum. We’ll make sure our guys know they’re prone to that.”
For the second straight week the Tide will enjoy being at home.
“I think it’s going to be a good crowd,” Heard said. “We had a big one last week and it gives us a huge advantage. It can be an intimidating place to play. Huntington plays at Independence Stadium and sometimes it feels empty. If you aren’t used to having fans right on top of you, it can affect you.”
The Crimson Tide own the all-time advantage over the Raiders at 12-8 through 20 matchups and will look to make it three straight wins over their district counterpart.
Minden and Huntington will kick things off at 7 p.m. from The Pit.