Brandon Nowlin enters his second year as head coach of the Tigers and said tonight will be a tough first game for his young team.
“Most definitely (it’s going to be tough) with a Class 5A opponent on the road — it’s going to be a very well coached ball club,” MCHS coach Brandon Nowlin said. “They’re probably going to have more depth than we do. Definitely a great challenge for our guys to go on the road and improve on what we did last week.”
In the jamboree last week the Tigers played well, but had trouble with two snaps going high over quarterback Hoang Ngyuen’s head, with one leading to a fumble recovery by West St. Mary.
“I thought, last week, we did some good things but obviously we dug ourselves a big hole in the last six minutes of that half,” Nowlin said. “That’s something we can’t do with the bad quarter-back-center exchanges and a pick-six after a horrible down and distance situation after a bad snap the quarterback was just trying to make a play. I’m real proud of the way our guys came back and competed in the second half.”
Comeaux is a much larger school than WSM and will have waves of back ups coming on the field with fresh legs.
The Tigers will need to put together lengthy drives and protect the football to have a shot at an upset.
“If we go out and minimize our mistakes that we had in the scrimmage and the jamboree — we should give ourselves a pretty good chance,” Nowlin said.
The Spartans run a spread offense and mix in some I-formation looks that will challenge the MCHS defense.
“They’re going to be a downhill running team, that’s what they showed last week,” Nowlin said. “We’ve got to run well and be good tacklers. We have to improve on our tackling from last week as well. That’s on glaring weakness that we have on defense and hopefully we’ve done enough this week in practice to shore that up.”
Scrimmages and jamborees are great to get teams prepared, but it’s tough to replicate four quarters of high intensity regular season football in that setting.
“At the beginning of the season, obviously, tackling and being able to play at that game speed, it’s a little bit different than what you’ve been practicing,” Nowlin said.
After last week’s snap issues, the MCHS coach said they’ve worked on the exchange and will move Nguyen under center, but the offense requires some shotgun sets to be effective.
“We put him under center a lot,” Nowlin said. “But there are certain things in our offense where we have to get into the gun. At the same time we’ve worked with our center this week to change a few things about his mechanics and hopefully that will eliminate those problems.”
One of the Tigers senior leaders, Austin Stroud, echoed his coaches’ concerns about tackling but expects his team to be ready to play.
“We’re really excited to go into it,” Stroud said. “But we have to learn how to tackle on defense. We think we have it, because we see how they aren’t so big on the line and their DBs aren’t that physical. We should have them on offense, but the defense needs to learn how to get into the holes we need to get into and wrap up.”