Last season, district 1-4A featured three of the state’s most high-scoring offenses in Benton, North DeSoto and Minden.
Benton and North DeSoto are both back in the swing of things offensively. The Tigers are averaging an eye-popping 50 points per contest, while the Griffins aren’t too far behind at 40 points per game.
Minden has some ground to make up with a 25.3 points per game average.
The Tide have been their own worst enemy on that side of the ball, with penalties and miscommunication leading to turnovers and stalled drives.
This week brings a chance for the Tide to get right against a vulnerable Fair Park defense.
“Fair Park plays really hard,” Minden head coach Spencer Heard said. “They fly around to the ball. That’s one thing about coach Greene, is he gets the most out of his kids. They’re a reflection of him.”
While Heard isn’t willing to talk down the opponent, Minden has an advantage at nearly every position.
The Indians have scored just six total points this season in losses to teams far inferior to the Tide.
Minden’s defense shouldn’t have trouble stopping Fair Park’s double wing option attack with Zi’Kerrion Baker, Cameron Morgan and the rest of a vicious front seven leading the way. That means Minden’s offense will have ample opportunities to find their rhythm, something that needs to happen before Benton visits The Pit Oct. 7.
“Really, I think this week is more about us,” Heard said. “Maybe every week is, but we really need to make sure we’re focused on trying to get better and keep progressing.”
Minden needed 43 points to put away North DeSoto last season, and 34 points weren’t enough to pull off a road win at Benton in 2015.
So, as confident as Heard may be in the Tide D, they’ll likely need to be in the 30’s to beat either team. That should be concerning, seeing how Minden hasn’t eclipsed 30 points yet this season against worse defenses than Benton and North DeSoto’s.
“We’ve been really close to having an explosive ball game,” Heard said. “But we haven’t reached our potential. We’re right on the cusp.”
First thing’s first, the Tide must take care of Fair Park.
“My message to the team was to focus on us,” Heard said. “Not that we’re taking them lightly or anything like that. We need to be prepared for what they do schematically, but let’s play up to our potential on offense, defense and special teams.”
The Tide and Indians kick off at 7 p.m. from Independence Stadium.