(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
TROY, Tenn. -- The Obion County Central Rebels will prove to be a different test for the Sikeston Bulldogs football team on Friday as the Bulldogs make the trek to Troy, Tenn. for their first game of the season Friday night.
The Rebels feature an offense not seen so much in Southeast Missouri.
The spread offense, which consists of up to five wide receivers at a time, is a pass-happy scheme that requires almost perfect timing from the quarterback and his receivers.
"It's going to be a hard game for us to win, if we don't compete," Sikeston head coach Kent Gibbs said. "They are very, very good on offense. They are very precise in what they do. To think your going to go over there and shut a team like that down might not be realistic."
Quarterback Trey Phipps and running back LeDevin Fair lead the Rebels' attack. Fair, a Fulton County transfer, is considered a scat-back who will be used in any offensive situation. His speed and playmaking ability makes him a threat on the ground, air and possibly even as a quarterback.
After watching game film on Fair and the Rebels, Gibbs knows the 6-0, 185 pound junior will have to be watched extremely close.
"He's the real deal," he said about Fair. "He could play for any team in Southeast Missouri, maybe any team in the state. I think he's that good.
"We're going to have to do a real good job on him."
Fair rushed for over 1,600 yards during his two years as a starter at Fulton County.
Phipps has the responsibility of getting the ball to Obion receivers such as Mason McGrew, Steven Patton and Nathan Ward, who are all viable options to go to with many more waiting in the wings.
"What we're really going to have to do is not give up the big play," Gibbs said. "We need to kind of control them a little bit and when they get in space, because they're going to get in space, we're going to have to make tackles."
Defensively, Obion County, who had a record of 6-5 last season, will run out of the 3-5 set. With five linebackers, and plenty of personnel to fill them, the Rebels will bring many different blitzes and coverage packages.
"They're very active with their linebackers," Gibbs said. "We're going to have to really play well to win the game. They have good size both offensively and defensively."
The Rebels are coming off a season where the defense shed a whooping 23 points per game average. Last year's defense gave up 22.4 points per game while the year before gave up 45 points per outing. Patton, Jaquis Williams, Josh Quinton and Joe Ferguson are just a few of the players they will depend on to make the tackles on Friday night. Game time is at 7 p.m.