After three games and a week off to prepare, the conference game has officially arrived for Smackover.
The Bucks hit the road for a key 6-3 clash at Lake Village tonight in hopes of building a strong start on their no-conference roster.
Game time is 7:00 p.m. from Lake Village.
The Bucks (2-1) sandwiched wins over Parkers Chapel and Hampton with a loss to Junction City.
The Beavers (0-3) were unsuccessful in their trio of non-conference games, losing to Monticello, Dumas and Junction City.
Smackover has won five of the seven school meets, but the Beavers won last year’s meeting 24-8 on the road.
“They are big and fast,” said Smackover coach David Osborn. “They are very direct in their offensive approach and like to confuse the defense. They’re going to come right at you and try to get the ball into the hands of their athletes. We have to get them to lead the field on offense and defensively, we have to find lags and take advantage of them. “
The Bucks defense will have to deal with Dead-T of Lake Village, an offense that Osborn says isn’t seen very often.
“You don’t see it much with the move to the spread offensive today,” Osborn said. “In defense you have to play fundamentally solid in your pattern and try not to be overloaded in any area. With the extra blockers in the backfield, it’s like going against a triangle attack.
“We will have to be aggressive in defense and try to confuse things with different looks. Their offensive line is huge with several over 300 pound guys up front and if they get their hands on you they do a good job of tying you up.
When the Bucks get the ball, Osborn said they will see a variety of looks from the Beavers.
“It’s a very multiple defense,” Osborn said. “It’s based on a 3-4 look, but they move guys around and have people in different places on almost every game. On any given game you could see a player with three fronts, four fronts, five fronts and sometimes nine guys in the box. We will have to follow our rules and our blocking pattern. We cannot run after people, we will have to stay in our tracks. “
And while all conference games are important, the Bucks will face two of the best teams in the conference at Harmony Grove and Rison following tonight’s clash in Lake Village, so a good start will be essential for Smackover’s playoff hopes. playoffs.
“All conference games are huge,” Osborn said. “Especially this year when at any time someone may have to forfeit a game due to COVID. It could change everything in the standings in just one week.
“We’re going to take one game at a time and not worry about anyone on the road. In our conference, every game is a big game and Lake Village is going to give us a big test. Lake Village are a solid team that have had their ups and downs, but they have the athletes to beat anyone any night.
Both teams are entering a week off, and Osborn said the time off has helped the Bucks be healthy.
“It’s been a good week for us trying to get healthy,” Osborn said. “We spent the last week really trying to control our offense. We came back and looked at some areas that we needed to address from both sides of the ball in the last two games. We have worked hard on the fronts. We spent a lot of time under the shoots and pushing our sleds.
The Bucks ended the non-conference game with a 28-20 victory at Hampton with D’Kylan Hildreth capturing three passes for 149 yards with two touchdowns.
“He had a big evening for us. He showed how he can change a game at any time, ”Osborn said of Hildreth. “The biggest thing we got from the game was the excitement and attitude our kids started playing with. At the start of the third quarter, it was like a switch had flipped and we started playing. Maybe it was after the third touchdown recalled, but something just changed with our players and our fans and the environment has changed. It was a great high school football atmosphere during the second half with Hampton. We have told the kids that we are entering lecture season, we cannot wait for that moment. We have to play from the start.
If the Bucks are to start the conference game with a road win, Osborn said the Bucks can’t hurt themselves with mistakes.
“Limit mistakes and limit penalties,” Osborn said. “We have to contain their big plays and get them rolling on the pitch. For us, the key will be to win in front. We need a good performance from our guys up front on both sides of the ball. If we do these things, we’ll have a good chance on Friday.