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franklin county times

West Lauderdale hits road for opening-round game

By By Will Bardwell / staff writer
November 4, 2004
Stan McCain doesn't mind going on the road for the first round of the MHSAA Class 3A state prep football playoffs.
It beats going home for the offseason.
"Everybody wants to have a home game to start with, but we put ourselves in this position," said McCain, whose Knights (7-3) visit Prentiss (8-2) in their playoff opener on Friday. "It doesn't matter if we're going to Egypt. We're just ready to play."
The Bulldogs will present West Lauderdale with one of its stiffest challenges of the season. Prentiss has shown consistency on both offense and defense, scoring more than 40 points in three of its last four games and holding opponents to 12 or fewer points in six of its 10 games.
"I know they (the Bulldogs) are big, physical, fast and athletic," McCain said. "They don't try to fool you. They play fundamental football. On offense, they run it right at you, and on defense, they've got some good linebackers who like to blitz a lot."
To slow down the Prentiss offense, McCain said the Knights will have to defend against the run, force long-yardage passing situations and most important of all get the Bulldogs' offense off the field.
"We've got to take care of them (Prentiss) on first and second down," McCain said. "Not that they can't throw the ball, but if we can put them in third-down situations where they have to throw, I think we can get our defense off the field."
That would set up West Lauderdale with opportunities to capitalize with its own running game, which has helped the Knights score more than 30 points in all but three games this season.
"Our offensive line is going to be the key for us running the football," McCain said. "I don't know if we can run outside, because their defense is so fast. If we can run it up the middle, I think we'll be all right."
West Lauderdale's success on the ground has been crucial in the team's late-season surge. Since a loss to Newton County on Sept. 24 that left the Knights with a 3-2 record, West Lauderdale has reeled off four wins in its last five games.
"I think we're peaking at the right time," McCain said. "We've played a lot better lately than we did earlier in the year. Right now, I think we're playing about as good as we can play."
Prentiss and West Lauderdale shared two common opponents during the regular season Morton and Forest. Both teams beat Morton (the Knights by 42 points and the Bulldogs by six) and lost to Forest (West Lauderdale by 11 and Prentiss by 32).
WHO: West Lauderdale (7-3) at Prentiss (8-2)
WHAT: 3A state playoffs, first round
WHERE: Prentiss High School
WHEN: Friday at 7 p.m.

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