Tigers look for 3-0 start
By GEOFFREY STOUTE
Morgan City High School coach Brandon Nowlin expects to see a team familiar to MCHS' week 3 opponent, Sarah Reed, when his squad travels to Jeanerette High for a Thursday night football game.
Nowlin said Jeanerette features several athletes, some skill players and a solid running back.
That running back, Abdul Tate, ran for about 200 yards on the Tigers during Jeanerette’s win against MCHS last season.
“He did a very good job against us last year,” Nowlin said, explaining that his squad must do a better job tackling the running back this year.
On offense, Nowlin said he has seen multiple looks from Jeanerette, such as a two tight end set, double wing formation with no receivers, and a four wide receiver set.
“I think they’re still trying to find what their identity is offensively,” he said of his opponent, which has a new coaching staff and has had to replace several players from last season.
On defense, Nowlin said Jeanerette has lined up differently in each game film that he’s seen. He said he has seen them play man coverage and the squad likes to bring pressure and cause havoc on opposing offenses.
The game also has some extra incentive for Morgan City.
While the Tigers fell to Jeanerette in 2011, Nowlin said the win against the Tigers likely put Jeanerette in the playoffs. The loss also didn’t help Morgan City as it narrowly missed the playoffs.
“This is a game that our guys thought we should have won last year, and they kind of jumped up and bit us,” Nowlin said.
That this week’s game will be played on a Thursday night also is a rare occurrence for the Tigers, who have normally played on Fridays but had to switch to Thursday because of a shortage of officials from the association that Jeanerette uses.
While weather affected the squad’s preparation Monday, Nowlin said his squad had a good day of work Tuesday.
“Our guys are ready to go,” he said. “A short work week is what it is.”
While Morgan City routed Sarah Reed, 35-6, in last week’s contest, Morgan City was limited to -37 yards of total offense in the second half as the squad tried to run against Sarah Reed. At times, Sarah Reed placed nine or 10 defenders at the line of scrimmage in an attempt to stop the run.
While Nowlin called himself “stubborn” for sticking almost exclusively with the run game and knows that the Tigers' performance ultimately falls on him, he said the play calling was not an excuse for the negative yardage.
“No play is designed to lose yards,” he said.
He said his squad will be faced with a situation similar to Friday’s at some point this season where they will be forced to run the ball to try to milk the clock, but instead of a commanding lead, they will be trying to keep the other team’s offense off the field.
Nowlin said he didn’t want to pass more because he needed to protect his quarterback from the pressure that Sarah Reed was sending to stop the run.
Of course, if the game was on the line and his squad needed to score, the MCHS coach said he would not have stuck nearly exclusively with the running game.
Thursday’s game at Jeanerette is set for a 7 p.m. kickoff.