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High School Football Preview: Holmes vs. Scott

Last week in the season opener, Holmes managed to get by Holy Cross in a hot and tiresome game, mostly by limiting the rushing attack and forcing the Indians to go to the air. The interior defensive linemen did a solid job of plugging their gaps and forcing ball-carriers to the outside on their runs. The strategy worked well, frustrating Holy Cross into incompletions and turnovers.

Scott is another team that focuses its offensive playcalling around the run. Head Coach Dan Woolley showcases a stable of high-quality running backs and intends on riding the trio to wins this season.

“We're primarily a running team. We have at least three backs that have the potential to be really, really good,” Woolley said. “We're blessed that we have three and I think they could start for a lot of teams in Northern Kentucky.”

If they can find running lanes against the Bulldogs, they may find the endzone more than Holy Cross was able to accomplish a week ago. In order to do that, however, they will have to push back a Holmes defense that is stout in the middle and stacked heavily in the box. The players along the Scott offensive line are no pushovers themselves, but they are young and conditioning remains a question mark. Temperatures are expected to again be hot and humid and should add an extra challenge to the big guys up front.

When asked if the Eagles had any kind of advantage from having their game canceled last week, Holmes head coach, Ben Nevels, could see the issue from both sides.

“You can look at it in two different ways,” Nevels said. “They didn't have to worry about getting banged up and were able to rest, but at the same time they haven't been able to play a full game yet when it really counts. So I guess it's kind of the glass half full or half empty type of deal depending on what kind of glasses you're looking through.”

Conversely, the Eagles must account for the big-play ability of the Holmes offense. Last week, the Bulldogs got two huge touchdown runs from Delijiah Ross-Tyus, that broke a close game open in the fourth quarter. There were multiple instances, however, of other big-play potential, namely two dropped passes by Fred Vickers that were certain touchdowns if completed. The Holmes offense appears to lull defenses to sleep with standard running plays and quick passes on three-step drops. Once the opposing defense falls into this kind of predictable play-calling sequence, Holmes looks to go deep when they recognize one-on-one coverage on the outside. If this remains the case on Friday, Scott would be wise not to leave their corners in exclusive man coverage without safety help. Otherwise, they could be burned from explosive plays.

Scott runs a 3-4 defense and the coaching staff feels like they have good athletes as outside linebackers in their scheme, but it's unlikely they have played against many players who possess the kind of speed that Ross-Tyus demonstrated last week as he torched Holy Cross on two outside misdirection runs out of the shotgun formation. If Scott is going to limit his impact, the outside linebackers must set the edge and not allow Ross-Tyus to turn the corner when he gets the ball in the flats.

“They do have some really good athletes on the edge,” Nevels said about the Scott defense. “But if we feel like if we stay within ourselves then we'll be okay this week.”

Kickoff has been moved from 7pm to 7:30pm, Friday night, to help the players combat the the heat.

“It was so hot this week that we weren't able to go outside and practice, so getting a full game in last week in that type of temperature I think can really only help us for this week,” Nevels said.

Like last Friday, the team best conditioned for the heated elements may become the victors for that reason alone.

Story & photo by Bryan Burke, associate editor