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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Prep football: NMCC looking for revenge

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Potosi defeated the Eagles 28-18 in third week of 2008 season

New Madrid County Central's G'Darius Stevenson looks to avoid the tackle of a Potosi defender on Sept. 12. Potosi won the first meeting of the two schools 28-18. The teams meet tonight in a Class 3 Regional matchup.
(Josh Mills, Staff)
NEW MADRID -- A good thing about playing a team twice in the same season is that you know what to expect the second time around.

The New Madrid County Central Eagles (8-2) saw the Potosi Trojans (8-2) in week three of the 2008 season and will be hosting them again in the first round of the Class 3 playoffs tonight at 7 p.m.

NMCC's Bryan Waters, seen here against Potosi in September, leads the Eagles in rushing with 1,090 yards.
(Josh Mills, Staff)
In their first meeting, the Trojans were able to pull out a 28-18 win over the Eagles with Potosi's headliner, running back Brandon Bourbon, putting up some impressive numbers on the ground on what has been a stingy Eagles defense for most of the season.

The 6-1, 190 pound Bourbon ran for 178 yards on 25 carries in the first game. He also scored all four of the Trojans touchdowns with three rushing and one receiving.

"He's a glider," NMCC head coach Arlen Pixley said about Bourbon. "He's got really good speed once he gets out and gets his legs going."

Bourbon has ran for 2,182 yards on 226 attempts and 25 rushing touchdowns so far this season.

The Eagles were able to back up the Trojans solid running game for the most part in the first game. But, Bourbon was able to break away on all three of his touchdown runs when facing third-and-long situations.

"We had him bottled up a couple times though," Pixley said. "I know we had him in a 3rd-and-17 situation where he rushed for a 27-yard touchdown. We had him in a 3rd-and-24 situation where he rushed for 36 yards and picked up a touchdown. We had him in a 3rd-and-14 situation where he rushed for 21 yards and a touchdown. We've got to negate those big plays against a good back like that and a good offensive line like they have."

Pixley said that the reason for the lack of containment on Bourbon was poor tackling. He also said that the Eagles' recent match-ups against predominantly run-based teams have greatly improved that aspect.

"In the first game we didn't tackle well at all," he said. "It wasn't necessarily anything else except that our kids were flying around and diving at his feet instead of squaring up and taking him on.

Potosi's Brandon Bourbon has gained over 2,000 yards already this season.
(Josh Mills, Staff)
"We have got to get off blocks better than we did in week three and we have got to wrap up and tackle better. We have done that as of late as a whole. We've seen some teams down the stretch that are good at running the football. We've done a really good job against those teams as far as taking away the run and forcing those teams to throw."

Speaking of a running game, the Eagles have a pretty potent one as well that is shared between four different Eagles players.

"We've got a great tandem of running backs that presents anybody we play with a challenge," Pixley said.

Two of NMCC's running backs have over 1,000 yards on the season. Bryan Waters leads the charge with 1,090 while G'Daruis Stevenson is a close second with 1,035 yards. Stevenson has reached the end zone 15 times and Waters has been able to score nine times on the ground.

Rodney Anderson has chipped in with 551 yards and eight touchdowns. Even the quarterback, Dontre Jenkins, is a threat to run with 496 yards and six touchdowns.

This Eagles running tandem has accumulated a total of 3,172 yards and 38 touchdowns so far this season.

Even with daunting numbers like that, Pixley said that not only will their running game dictate how well their offense clicks, but they will have to go to the air at times to keep a good balance as well.

"We're going to have to throw the football too to be successful in this ballgame," Pixley said about their offense. "We've been fortunate enough to lock up some games pretty early for the last five or six weeks and we haven't really had to go to the air much. We were a little stale the last couple of weeks. I wasn't impressed with our execution in that aspect. But, now that we're in the playoffs, you have to throw it up enough to keep people honest."

So far, Jenkins has completed 44 passes on 77 attempts that has led to 843 yards and seven touchdowns threw the air. His main target has been Kony Ealy who leads the Eagles with 15 catches for 373 yards and five touchdowns.

Even though offensively the Eagles are capable of putting up numerous yards and score plenty of touchdowns with the talent they have on that side of the ball, Pixley and his team know that defense will be the deciding factor for this rematch.

"We're going to preach it at all times at New Madrid that 'defense wins championships' and along with that is a solid rushing attack," Pixley said. "So that definitely has to be established."