By JOEL COLEMAN
In Class 2A, seven teams have averaged allowing fewer than 10 points per game this season.
Two of those squads will square off tonight in Cumberland as East Webster (12-0) hosts John F. Kennedy (8-4) in second round playoff action at 7 p.m.
Though the Wolverines have also scored more points than any other squad in Class 2A (498), East Webster head coach Jimmy Carden says the Hornets present a challenge unlike anything his team has played against this year.
"They load the box up and they send a lot of people on blitz," said Carden of the Kennedy defense. "They're sending folks at every gap and they just load up and come at you. They don't sit back and wait. They don't play any kind of control defense. They are in your face and here they come."
While dealing with such an aggressive defensive attack, it will be interesting to see how effectively East Webster quarterback Ledrick Patterson along with running backs Timakis Bell and Demetrius O'Briant can execute the Wolverines triple-option.
If Kennedy continues bringing defenders to the line, Carden says utilizing the talents of receivers such as Miguel Graham is always an option, but that hasn't altered East Webster's preparation heading into tonight's battle.
"We always look at (using the passing game)," said Carden. "We practice the same things every week because you don't ever know going in. You can watch a half dozen tapes, but just because a team does one thing one week, that doesn't mean that's what they are going to do on Friday night.
"I've been at this long enough to know that we practice all of it and try to be ready to do whatever. We'll try to make you stop us, but at the same time, we'll take what you give us as well. We're going to be smart enough to not butt our heads up against a wall we can't knock down."
When the Wolverines are on defense, Carden says his club will have to deal with a Hornets offense that is loaded with speed and athleticism, particularly at the skill positions.
To prepare for Kennedy's quickness, the Wolverines have been engaging in pursuit drills this week at practice.
"Everybody is going to have to play disciplined defense and be where they are supposed to be," said Carden. "We can't try to do too much and are going to have to swarm to the football. It's going to take all 11 of us being in the right spot to make the plays. We've got to be disciplined, but we've got to be hustling as well."
If East Webster is successful against Kennedy tonight, the Wolverines will battle the winner of the Calhoun City and Simmons matchup next week.
An East Webster win coupled with a Calhoun City victory would set up a showdown of undefeated teams in the North semifinals.
Even though fans and media members may yearn to witness a game between two unbeatens, Carden says he and his staff have had no trouble at all keeping their focus on the Hornets.
"We haven't looked at anything for Calhoun City," said Carden. "We haven't talked about Calhoun City. We've got one game left in our season and that's (tonight). If we win that one, we'll focus on Calhoun City and at that point, we'll still only have one game left in our season. That's the approach we're taking."