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Edgewood hosts surging Wilcox Academy

Published 10:07am Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Edgewood Academy (12-0) and Wilcox Academy (8-3) have shared some impressionable postseason games since Bobby Carr and Chris Burford took over for their programs.
The Wildcats from Wilcox defeated the Wildcats from Edgewood for the Alabama Independent School Association state championship in 2003. In Carr’s first season at the helm, Wilcox eliminated Edgewood from the playoffs. EA got the best of WA in their last meeting, a 48-14 drumming in the first round in 2011.
“They beat us the first year I was here in the playoffs and beat us for the state title a couple of year later,” said Carr, “which was a pretty good game. Our last meeting was in 2011 in the first round of the playoffs and we won that one.
“Those kids were 10th-graders back then and now they’re seniors. So I’m sure they remember that. Yeah, we’ve got some history, but they do things the right way down there and they’ve got good kids that are very well-coached.”

Edgewood freshman Jackson Tate looks for separation. Photo by Kevin Taylor
Edgewood freshman Jackson Tate looks for separation. Photo by Kevin Taylor

From those previous bouts, Wilcox Academy Chris Burford picked up some lasting knowledge about Carr and his teams.
“The main thing is you’re not going to stop Edgewood,” Burford said. “They’re going to score points. Bobby does great job. We’ve played each other in the playoffs and in championship games, so I know you’re not going to stop them. What we have to do is try not to make any turnovers and control the clock because it only takes them a few seconds to score. The way I approach the game is we going to have to do our job in controlling the ball, get some first downs and keep them from having the ball.”
With a grind-it-out offensive style, Wilcox Academy’s running backs, junior Lee Seale and senior Alex Hutcheson, have amassed over 1,000 yards apiece this season at 1,400 and 1,028 respectively. The duo has combined for 29 touchdowns on the ground.
Even with a more spread out attack, the Edgewood Wildcats counter with junior tailback Josh Crawford who has 20 scores and 1,283 rushing yards on the year. Add senior quarterback Taylor Hawthorne, who returned two weeks ago from a knee injury, and Carr’s team will look to continue the offensive output after scoring 45 in its first round matchup with South Choctaw last Friday.
With the contrast in styles, both coaches know that the second round showdown will be their toughest test to date.
“When you look at common opponents, they beat Fort Dale 42-14 and Coosa Valley 37-14,” Carr said. “We were very fortunate to beat Coosa Valley (a 38-35 thriller). They are playing very good right now and it’s going to be different styles going at it. They’ll wait to snap the ball with one second on the play clock. They’ll want to shorten the game. And they’re enormous up front.
“So, we’ll have to capitalize on offense and hopefully our defense matches up with them. It’ll be our toughest game all year.”
“Bobby is probably more imaginative on offense than I am,” Burford said. “We’re a little more old school. We’ll run some option, some powers and traps. But I think that’s because of the personnel that we have. (Carr) does a good job with the players that he has.
“We know we can’t just sit in our base because they’ll eat us alive. But we’re going to believe in what we do and the kids will believe in it. You can’t prepare for everything. He’ll have something different. You just need to have your guys where they’re supposed to line up at and be ready to play.”
Both coaches said the winner of this game will make a stop or two on defense. A winning attitude and method of preparation will also lead the way to the AISA Class AA state championship game next week.
“I think we’ve got to play physical,” Burford said. “We need to get to them before they get it going. There’s a difference in playing not to loose and playing to win. I told tham all week that we’re going to play to win.”
Edgewood, Carr said, will rely on its effectiveness.
“Obviously, we will have to go to our strength which is speed and quickness,” he said. “Their strength is size and strength, but we’ll try to do what we do best and that’s get our athletes the ball out in space so they can do what they do.”

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