Beulah faces tough matchup for homecoming
Published 11:40 am Wednesday, September 27, 2023
It is homecoming week in Beulah as the Bobcats face off against Prattville Christian Academy.
Every high school coach worries about distractions during the week. No week is as distracting for a football team as homecoming week.
With parades, dress-up days and homecoming courts, there are a lot of things to take the players’ attention away from their game on Friday.
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Head Coach Matt Johnson knows all the festivities are ultimately good for the kids and the community. Johnson also has faith that his group of seniors will keep the team focused and prepared for Friday.
“You want to have good school spirit, but at the same time there’s a task at hand,” Johnson said. “You really have got to have a lot of seniors to keep everybody focused. People are coming to see you play. You want to put a good product on the field.”
The Bobcats are coming off of their bye week, and it could not have come at a better time for the team. In its last game, Beulah was beaten 60-34 against Walter Wellborn on the road.
Beulah still controls its own destiny. With a 2-2 record, this week is a pivotal turning point for the season.
“That’s what we talked about, we’ve just got to bounce back,” Johnson said. “Last week was a good week to get healthy. We had a lot of rehab. We worked on ourselves quite a lot. It was a well-timed break. We needed it drastically.”
The Bobcats have faced Prattville Christian seven times in their history. Prattville Christian currently leads the series 4-3. Last season, the Panthers won 35-21 at home.
Beulah’s defense struggled against Wellborn. Coming into the matchup, the Bobcats had a top-10 defense in 3A. Allowing 60 points stunned many people around Beulah and in high school football.
This week, the defense has another tough task ahead of them. Prattville Christian is led by senior Tanner Byrd at quarterback. Byrd is a two-year starter. Last season, Byrd totaled 1,280 passing yards, 19 touchdown passes and just 3 interceptions.
This season, Byrd already has already passed for 623 yards and nine touchdowns. The Bobcats are locked in on limiting Byrd and the rest of the Panthers’ skill players.
“They’ve got a really good quarterback,” Johnson said. “Not a whole lot of formations. They’ve got a couple of skill guys that can take it to the house. We’ve got to be very sound in our defense.”
The offensive line has been one of Beulah’s more inconsistent groups this season. This week will be one of the offensive line’s biggest tests as they battle with the size of Prattville Christian’s defensive line.
“They’ve got some big guys on the defensive line,” Johnson said. “We’re going to have to come off the ball and be physical with these guys.
Johnson is calling out every offensive lineman on the team to step up this week. Despite the loss, Johnson believes that the line had one of its best performances of the season against Wellborn.
“We moved the ball pretty well against Walter Wellborn,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to continue to do that and string some games together.”
Beulah has not made the playoffs since 2018. At 2-2, Beulah has its best chance of getting back to the playoffs since Johnson became the head coach. The team knows what’s at stake, but Johnson is trying to make sure that the team does not look too far ahead.
“We really need to take it week by week,” Johnson said. “Right now we’re focused on Prattville Christian, but it’s always in the back of your mind. You’ve got to win the region games of course. If you don’t focus on each week, then you’re going to lose the heart of the team. We know this is not a region game, but you’ve still got to prepare like it is.”