The Bulldogs are riding in Friday night’s season opener on a lot of momentum after last week’s scrimmage against Tupelo.
New Albany will open the season the same as last year, taking on Booneville, who defeated the Bulldogs, 41-34 last season.
“After the way we lost last year, it’s been motivation to stay focused and get prepared to come out Friday and really play a good game,” NAHS head coach Ron Price said.
One of the highlights from last year’s match-up was the offensive explosion on both sides, as Tyler Basil threw for three touchdowns and rushed for two. The senior said they are working hard to stay focused and hopefully get some revenge over the Blue Devils this year.
“I think Saturday helped us a lot with our confidence,” he said. “We’re just getting ready this week. We’re excited and I think we’re more focused because we saw last weekend how good we can be.”
According to senior defensive back Zach Hand, the defensive unit has made a pact for this season, which will be challenge against the Blue Devils, who finished the 2009 season at 13-1, falling to Aberdeen in the 3A north half finals.
“We are going to try to hold all of our opponents to 14 points or less. That’s our goal, and as long as the offense averages their’s, which is 40, I think we’ll be alright,” he said.
New Albany had a small scare in last Saturday’s jamboree, when running back Kareem Brown was sidelined after taking a hit to the knee. Price is confident the senior standout is ready to go.
“I think Kareem’s going to be fine. He took a shot on the outside of his leg that I think scared him more than anything,” he said. “We held him out for the rest of Saturday’s game and he received some treatment over the weekend. He feels good and is ready to go, so I think we’re good there.”
Brown will look to make more of an impact against the Blue Devils, as he was held to only 68 yards rushing in last year’s game.
Price and his staff are determined to start the new season off right, as the third year coach is looking for his first opening season win.
“As a coaching staff and a team, we’re challenging ourselves to go 1-0,” he said. “We have not been able to do that as a staff since we’ve been here, so that’s our goal, we want to be 1-0 after Friday night.”
Hoping to see the same intensity he saw against Tupelo, Price knows his team is excited to kickoff the new season.
“Our kids are excited to get out there and play a game that counts, so hopefully we can stay focused, take care of the football and play from start to finish, I think we can be very successful,” he said.
Kickoff at Booneville is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday night.