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Streaks stack the stakes: Wins up ante for SEHS, PHS region game

Published 10:10am Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Approaching the halfway point, the Stanhope Elmore Mustangs (3-2, 1-2) and the Prattville Lions (2-2, 2-1) are heading in the right direction after accumulating wins and for a Class 6A Region 4 collision Friday night at Stanley-Jensen Stadium.
The magnitude of each game grows each week. Add rivalrous intensity, along with playoff positioning and Friday’s matchup is the most important game of each team’s schedule.

Stanhope running back B.J. Smith carries the ball against Jeff Davis. Photo by Anthony Watson
Stanhope running back B.J. Smith carries the ball against Jeff Davis. Photo by Anthony Watson

“It’s huge,” said SEHS head coach Jeff Foshee. “They get bigger every week. When you start looking at postseason play, these region games get more and more important every week. We know that our backs are against the wall, and we’ve got to win some football games in the next few weeks if we’re going to get in the playoffs.”
Lions coach Chad Anderson with the significance of the game’s outcome elevating each week, it’s more crucial now than before that his team clearly focuses.
“Each game in this region is critical,” Anderson said. “You have to take care of winning early on in region games and don’t leave it to chance. Last year, we left it up to chance and ended up on the short end of it. Now, you just have to take it one game at a time.”
Mustangs and Lions are both riding two-game win streaks, thanks to powerful rushing attacks. During the back-to-back victories, Stanhope’s B.J. Smith has gained 265 yards with 5 touchdowns, while Prattville’s Auburn University commit Kamryn Pettway has amassed 227 yards with 4 touchdowns, all against region rival Wetumpka.
Anderson said that his team will have to slow down Smith, and the Mustang’s other offensive playmakers to have a chance.
“We do what we do,” Foshee said of his Mustangs. “We try to establish the run, and we do other things, too. We do whatever it takes to move the football. That’s what we hang our hat on and we have some pretty good backs.”
Foshee said Prattville’s trio of rushers will be the best they’ve seen all year.Regardless of who’s toting for the Lions, Anderson said the most important thing is taking care of the ball.
“The big thing for us is no self-inflicting wounds, as far as turnovers go,” he said. “We have to do a good job in special team areas. Don’t give up big plays, it’s a game of fundamentals. We have to executve better than them.”
Foshee noted last year’s 24-21 game at Foshee-Henderson Stadium was decided by a punt and kickoff return for touchdowns for Prattville. It’s adverse situations as those that he wants to see how his team responds.
“It’s extremely important to have momentum, but I think what’s even more important is overcoming the other team’s momentum and overcoming adversity,” Foshee said. “Overcoming adversity and taking back momentum is crucial and you have to do that to win big ballgames like this.”
Friday’s game, just like any other game, will have its ebbs and flows for both teams. The coaches agree that the team that keeps its composure and takes advantage of their rival’s mishaps will continue their win streak.
“You have to keep working on what you do and get better every week,” Anderson said. “Our guys have been able to do that (the last two games). Lately, things have bounced our way. The team’s been more optimistic when those opportunities have presented themselves.”
“It’s always good to get back in the win column,” said Foshee. “Losing two hurt, but winning two has been good medicine for our team. We’ll have to play extremely well Friday.”

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