Amory is a well-known powerhouse in football, and the Bulldogs are looking to return to the win column, hosting the Panthers Friday night.
“They’re a school with a big football tradition, and they’ve won several state championships,” New Albany coach Ron Price said. “They’ve been down the last couple of years, but watching film on them, they’re playing with a lot of confidence and with a hop in their step.”
Amory lost 14-7 to Aberdeen last week, but Price sees a confident Panther team coming to Kitchens’ Field to test the 2-1 ‘Dawgs.
“I’m sure, in their opinion, they won that game because they played them so close after being blown out the last couple of years,”
Price said. “They’re a good football team, and they’re showing that they’re getting their swagger back and that they can compete, so we’ll have our hands full.”
One defensive area New Albany has worked on this week is its attack on its opponent’s rushing game by returning the focus to making good tackles. Although New Albany allowed 380 yards on the ground against Pontotoc, only two key plays separated the ‘Dawgs from the Warriors in last week’s 20-6 loss.
“We tell our kids every week that you have to go out and play every single play, and hopefully they learned that last week,” Price said. “Pontotoc scored the very first play they had the ball and the very last play, but in between those two plays, we played some good football, we just missed some tackles that we haven’t in the past, and outside of those two plays, I feel we played good defense.”
This week the focus will be on the Panthers’ passing game. Junior defensive tackle Devonte Bradley said consistency in the pass rush will be crucial for the defense, as Amory is currently averaging 299.3 passing yards per game.
“We have to get real tough on our pass rush because about eighty percent of their plays are pass plays with only a few running plays, so we’ve got to get in the backfield and be consistent,” he said.
New Albany will square off with the Panthers at 7:30 on Friday, and Price hopes the time in practice will have his team better prepared for another difficult 4A opponent.
“We’ve got to play sound defense and do something offensively to put points on the board,” he said. “We had an opportunity to win that football game last week, but we fell short, and hopefully our kids are hungry to get back on the field this week against another opponent.”