Wildcats’ streak on the line in season-opener against ColtsPublished 12:00pm Wednesday, August 21, 2013
For the second year, Edgewood Academy will take the field underneath the collegiate lights, which is fitting for a team which has ended the past four season playing under them.
The top-ranked (No. 1 in the first AISA poll) Wildcats, riding the crest of a 31-game winning streak, kicks off the season against Class AAA Hooper Saturday night at 7 at Faulkner University.
“We’ve been preaching consistency, because we’ve been making young mistakes,” said Bobby Carr, coach of the Wildcats. “But, we’re having to do things this year that we haven’t had to do in the past. And it’s nobody’s fault. We’re just young and they haven’t been out there. But talent-wise, these young cats can play.”
Last season, the Colts and ‘Cats tangled at Huntingdon. After a close first half and Edgewood struggling to stop Hooper’s read-option, the two teams went into the locker room with the game still in question.
The Wildcats removed all doubt in the second half, blowing out the Colts 40-13 for their first win of 2012.
“I’m sure we’ll make a few mistakes in this game,” said Carr. “So will everyone else in the first week. We’re going to be a much better team five or six games from now. But we’re supposed to be.”
The Wildcats finished last year by hoisting the Class AA trophy. The Colts went to a 5-7 campaign that ended with losses to Glenwood, Lee-Scott and Lee-Scott a second time (playoffs).
“We are having to do a lot of things this year that we haven’t had to do in the past,” said Carr. “We’ve got a guy back there (quarterback Taylor Hawthorne) that can run and throw, so our wideouts are going to have to do a better job of not giving up on the play just because they see him scrambling it and extend their routes. We’ve got a few things we’ve got to iron out this week.”
While Hawthorne is the Wildcats trigger-man, his targets include Daniel Green, Jackson Tate and W.B. Hill.
Heath Young will step in at tight end, but he’s day-to-day with a hamstring injury.
Edgewood will be without the services of David Caton (collarbone) and Bradley Evans (mono).
“That means that more kids are going to have to play both ways,” said Carr. “It’s going to be tougher, being on that turf this early on in the year. It means kids are going to make it a lot hotter. And we are going to have some question marks that are going to have to be filled. Hopefully some of these young guys are going to step up and step in and give these starters a break. That’s going to be a big help.”
While there’s a learning curve in the starting 22 for the Wildcats, one place Carr has seemingly sured up is the kicking game.
“We don’t talk about special teams a lot here,” said Carr. “But we’ve got a new guy, Alex Dettmar that’s kicking for us and he’s a kicker, he doesn’t do anything else. I feel solid that if we get inside the 25, we’re going to come away with three points. He’s worked his tail off this summer and been to a bunch of camps.”
Carr also praised the work of defensive linemen Austin Barnett and Jake Sisson.