Beulah faces Saks to highlight a busy week of football

Published 11:49 am Wednesday, September 6, 2023

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The Beulah Bobcats open region play this Friday with a home matchup against the Saks Wildcats. 

Beulah has only faced Saks once. Last season, the Bobcats lost on the road against Saks 48-6. Both teams are very different from what they were last season. 

“I think we match up a lot better than we did last year,” Head Coach Matt Johnson said. “We’re more physical than we were last year. Just overall, just a better football team. We’ve got a good gameplan. If everybody does what they’re supposed to do, if we can get everybody healthy and we can execute, I think we’ll be ok.” 

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Saks comes into the matchup after suffering blowout losses in their first two games. Beulah sits at 1-1 after a blowout win against Abbeville to start the season, and then a tough loss against Loachapoka last week. 

Beulah lost at home against Loachapoka 12-14. Johnson believes his players have responded well this week after the loss. 

“We had a good practice yesterday,” Johnson said. “It was an energetic, high energy type of practice. We corrected a lot of things. You got to flush it and move on. Our goals are still out there, one being making the playoffs. You want to win every game, if you do lose you don’t want to waste a loss. We want to learn from it and correct our mistakes.” 

Saks will bring in a quarterback that is just in the eighth grade, but he might be one of the biggest quarterbacks that the Bobcats will face all season. 

Jamorris Young will lead the Wildcats at quarterback. He stands at six-foot and four inches, and he weighs around 240 pounds. With Young and a committee of running backs in the backfield, Beulah will have their hands full. 

“They’ve got a lot of speed, especially in the backfield,” Johnson said. “They can get a really long explosive play out of a play that wasn’t necessarily intended to be. They’ve got a really big quarterback, he’s probably the biggest quarterback that we’ll see all year. He can move a little bit, but he’s a big guy. It’s going to be hard to tackle him with just one person.”

Beulah’s offense struggled against Loachapoka, but the Indians have one of the better defensive lines in 1A. Saks will bring in a strong defensive line, and they look to pressure the quarterback.

“They bring a lot of pressure,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to be able to handle that, which we didn’t do against Loachapoka. We’ve got to utilize all of our guys, and give them better chances than we did last week to score and to succeed.” 

Johnson has challenged the offensive line to step up after a tough showing against Loachapoka. Johnson also believes that his running backs need to run through the correct holes, and they need to be more physical. 

“We’ve got to play better up front,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to cut off penetration and do a better job with that. Also, our running backs have to be able to earn some hard yards after contact.” 

The battle against Loachapoka’s defensive line will not be for nothing. Johnson believes that matchup will make the Bobcats stronger up front moving forward. 

“It was good for us to go against that,” Johnson said. “That’s probably one of the best defensive lines we’ll face. It was a good learning experience for us, but they responded well yesterday. Coach [Stan] Pepper does a great job with them, and [he] challenged them to get better and to practice with a purpose.” 

It is still early in the week, but Johnson believes that the team has seen some things in the film room that they can exploit on Friday. 

“They’ve got some tendencies that we’re going to try to take advantage of,” Johnson said. “If we can do that, we’ll be alright.”  

Through two games, Beulah has only allowed 26 points total. The defense allowed just one score last week, the other score came on a mistake by Beulah’s offense. 

The defense has been led by the linebacker duo of Bronson Dubose and Hunter Brown, and they’ve been helped by DaKota Holloway, Antarious Allen and Tamarian Burgess on the defensive line. 

“They’ve done a good job,” Johnson said about the linebackers. “They’re doing what they’re supposed to do, and they are very physical. When they hit people, they’re hitting them really hard.” 

“They’re difference makers,” Johnson said about the defensive line. “They may not make a ton of tackles, but they free up Bronson and Hunter to make a lot of tackles.” 

The first region game of the season is always important. Most seasons, teams can only lose one or two region games if they want to be region champions. 

“It’s super important,” Johnson said. “Our goal is to make the playoffs. This is step one for that. We’ve just got to go out there and not make this game bigger than what it is. It’s going to be a tough game, I’m glad it’s [at] home.” 

Chambers Academy (2-1) at Crenshaw Christian (3-0) 

After losing their opener to Lee-Scott Academy, the Rebels have dominated their last two opponents. 

The Rebels have been led by running backs Jacob Norgard and Luke Tarver. Chambers Academy has also seen the emergence of Koreen Henry at wideout. 

Chambers Academy has faced Crenshaw Christian 25 times in their history. The Rebels have won 13 of their matchups against Crenshaw Christian. Last season, Chambers Academy beat Crenshaw Christian 38-6. 

“We play an undefeated Crenshaw team this week,” Head Coach Jason Allen said in a text. “I don’t know as much about them since Wayne Grant retired in the offseason, but they always play hard and it will be a tough environment.” 

LaFayette (0-2) vs Reeltown (1-0) 

LaFayette has struggled to start the season. In their opener, the Bulldogs were blown out by Loachapoka. Last week, LaFayette lost a one score game against Bullock County. 

The road will not get any easier this week. Reeltown won the region last season, and the Rebels are currently ranked as a top ten team in 2A. 

Lanett (1-1) vs Horseshoe Bend (0-1) 

The Panthers are looking to get over their 41-14 loss to Valley this week in their region opener. Lanett has faced Horseshoe Bend 17 times in their history. The Panthers have won all but one of their matchups. 

Last season, Lanett beat the Generals 39-6. This game will be important for Chip Seagle and his team because it is their first chance to make an impression on the rest of the region. 

Springwood (3-0) vs Meadowview Christian (0-2) 

The Wildcats are looking to continue their dominance this week against Meadowview. Springwood has been one of the best 8-man football teams in the state so far this year. The Wildcats have won each of their first three games by 20 or more points. 

Springwood is led by their star running back CJ Johnson. Johnson has had 10 touchdowns in the past two weeks. 

The Wildcats have also gotten major contributions from Dylan Reeves, Greg Johnson, Luke Hudson and Eli Johnson. 

This will be the seventh matchup between the two teams. Springwood has only won two of their matchups against Meadowview. Last season, the Wildcats beat Meadowview 60-8. 

If Springwood wins this week, the Wildcats could set up a region defining matchup next week against Cornerstone Christian. 

Valley (1-1) at Beauregard (2-0) 

The Rams bounced back last week with a 41-14 win over Lanett. Valley dominated in the second half. 

There probably could not have been a tougher region opener for Valley than Beauregard. This will be the 12th matchup between the two teams, and Valley has beaten the Hornets seven times. 

Beauregard won 10 games last season, and the Hornets are currently ranked as a top 10 team in 5A.