The Tigers were shutout in the first game of the season against Comeaux, 37-0, but roared back last week with a 44-26 win against Berwick.
Sarah Reed hasn’t fared as well with two shutouts to start the season allowing 88 points in its two losses.
Morgan City coach Brandon Nowlin said the teams are similar with shared issues regarding penalties and turnovers, but he expects a tough game.
“They’re a pretty athletic group, the quarterback is a pretty good athlete,” Nowlin said. “He can definitely run it. They seem to kind of hurt themselves with penalties and alignments, things like that. I don’t think they have a whole lot of depth, but the kids they do have are tough kids. They play hard for as long as they can. We’re going to have to try and get on top of them early and keep the foot down on the pedal a little bit.”
The biggest challenge for the Tigers will be containing the Sarah Reed quarterback. If they can deal with the guessing game that comes along with defending some option looks, they can be successful.
“They run some wing stuff, some slot motion and things like that, they run some veer and try to get the quarterback in certain situations to try and make plays,” Nowlin said.
Last season when the Tigers won their first game against Jeanerette, the team showered Nowlin with Gatorade and celebrated the win with enthusiasm.
This time around the team was obviously happy, but they didn’t douse their coach and act like they’ve won a few football games before — a good sign of progress for a program looking to rebound from a few rough years.
“It’s a good positive feeling among our guys, we’re just trying to keep them grounded and let them understand that we need to improve as a football team,” Nowlin said. “There is a lot of improvement that has to take place this week for us to win on Friday and for us to be where we ultimately want to be as a football team. Trying to handle a little bit of success and things like that — it’s a good problem to have, but we just need to make sure we handle ourselves the right way and give ourselves a chance to keep getting better every week.”
Starting running back Adeyemi Wheeler is a game-time decision and, if he is ready, he will be slowly worked in to avoid aggravating his injury.
Eric Walker has been tough to bring down in the starting role and that should continue tonight as Wheeler is slowly worked back into the rotation. Walker’s bread and butter is in the defensive backfield, which will be crucial tonight against a mobile quarterback.
Last week against Berwick, the Tigers used what they call turtle right and turtle left effectively with sophomore Joseph Jones coming in to form a heavy formation that the Panthers struggled to stop.
“He’s a big kid, he’s our nose guard,” Nowlin said. “He’s a backup offensive lineman for us in certain situations. He’s one of the bigger bodies that we have on our team. So, we just want to give him a chance to be on the offensive side of the ball and push the pile a little bit. He did a good job of it.”
The formation has its limitations, but Nowlin said they would use it again tonight if the right situation presents itself.
“We’ll use it when we need it,” Nowlin said. “Obviously we’ve got to expand on what we’re doing. You’re limited with what you can do with some ineligible guys in the backfield. It’s definitely something we need to expand on because it worked out pretty well for us.”