The Minden Crimson Tide will welcome a talented Tioga team to The Pit this week for a first round, home playoff game.
Minden (8-2, 6-1) earned the No. 7 seed in Class 4A following a captivating regular season. The Tide’s only losses came against Class 5A Haughton and the No. 4 seed in Class 4A, Benton.
As the boys in crimson and powder blue prepare for their visitors from central Louisiana, head coach Spencer Heard talked about the excitement of hosting a playoff game for the second straight season.
“We’re happy where we’re sitting right now,” Heard said. “It’s definitely exciting to be at home for a playoff game. The community is starting to rally around these kids. This is one of the things we talked about when I first got here. We’ve worked hard to get to this point, and now we want to make a run.”
Tioga presents a tough test for the Tide in round one.
The Indians run a high-octane offense predicated on spreading defenses out and letting their talented quarterback, Logan Dubois, beat teams with precision passing.
“They’re a spread team with a good quarterback who throws the ball around pretty well,” Heard said. “He operates their system well. I would say they’re similar to Benton in some regard. Hopefully we learned some stuff from that game.”
Heard said the Indians play solid defense as well, mixing up coverages and fronts frequently to throw off opponents.
“Defensively, they’re kind of multiple,” Heard said. “They’ll show three and four man fronts and various coverages. We have to do a good job offensively of preparing for all of it.”
Last season, the Crimson Tide dropped a home playoff game to Peabody, 20-6. They played the majority of that game without Antonio Rivette, Kolby Jackson and Rodtravion Rogers.
L’Jarius Sneed, this season’s breakout offensive star, was busy in the secondary trying to stop a five wide receiver system.
That loss, painful as it was, made the Tide a stronger team, and Heard believes this season his group is better prepared for whatever adversity may come.
“I think this year’s team is better equipped to handle tough situations,” Heard said. “They’ve been in those situations before and played a lot of close games this season. If we let someone come in here and beat us, it’s over and we’re hanging our stuff up, so they know we have to go out there and take care of business.”
The Minden offense has undergone a facelift since last year, with Heard opting for a more pass-heavy approach and running plays heading for the edge, as opposed to going up the middle. The keys to the offense are in the hands of Rivette, and conventional wisdom tells us that Tioga will do all they can to take away his favorite target in Sneed.
“There’s only so much you can do to stop a guy,” Heard said. “When you commit too many of your resources to trying to stop one guy, you’re giving something up somewhere else. All our guys have shown they can make plays and you saw it last week with Tavarius (Edwards) and Kelcey (Miller) making some plays. It’s our job to put our guys in the best situation to make plays and that’s what we’re going to do.”