Bulldogs prepare for rematch with Cleveland
New Albany gets a second chance against Cleveland, and this time the stakes are bigger, as the Bulldogs hope to advance to the third round of the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
“Things didn’t go the way we had planned in the first game against Cleveland,” coach Ron Price said. “We turned the ball over a number of times, and we really didn’t get rolling.”
“I told our guys after that game that the potential to play them again was there, and things have worked out to where we’re playing them in the playoffs. If we can learn from the mistakes in game one and play better in game two, I’ll be proud. This one is a little more important this time around.”
The ‘Dawgs allowed 359 yards on defense, led by Eddie McCadney, who rushed for 122 yards and passed for 125. In a new offense, the Wildcats have moved McCadney and now have freshman Vaughnte Dorsey guiding them in the triple option.
“That makes it very challenging for any defense when you have to defend all three phases on every single play,” Price said. “That’s something they’ve added in since opening division play, and they’ve been successful with it.”
“Eddie poses a challenge for us Friday night, so our kids know what to expect, and they know how hard he’s going to be. We talked about it this week and have talked about form tackling, so we have to hit him early and let him know we’re there for real Friday night.”
When Price made out the schedule for this season, he scheduled ten straight 4A opponents to get his team to the level he felt they needed to be at in order to make a run deep in the playoffs. The question now is if that strategy will work and how the Bulldogs wiill respond in the rematch.
“We didn’t have any cupcakes on our schedule this year. From the Ripley game to Lewisburg, every game has been a challenge for our kids, and hopefully it will pay off now,” Price said. “We’ve seen just about everything there is to see offensively and defensively, so our kids should know what to do and the challenges that lie before them. We’ve been in a number of close games, and our kids have found a way to win.”
Most important for New Albany will be a quick, effective start on offense, something the team achieved in the regular season finale against Lewisburg, but took a step back last week against Houston.
“Coming off the Lewisburg game, I really felt like we were heading in the right direction and things were starting to flow together, but we struggled again last week,” Price said. “It’s been a week to week battle, and we have to do things right on every play. Eleven guys have got to do their job, and if one guy breaks down, it hurts everyone. We stressed that in film and in practice.
“For us to be successful, we need to be able to both run and throw the football, and we have to keep teams guessing on what we’re doing. We can’t be one dimensional either way. We’ve got to be able to take care of the football and run our plays to perfection in order to be successful.”
Kickoff for Friday’s second round playoff game is set for 7 p.m. at Cleveland.
About Chris Elkins
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