El Dorado News

October 15, 2018
El Dorado News Times

Bucks looking to snap losing streak

This article was published November 2, 2017 at 5:00 a.m.

By Jason Avery

News-Times Staff

Two weeks ago, Smackover was riding a four-game winning streak into a battle of undefeated 6-3A schools against Union County rival Junction City.

Now the Bucks head into the final week of the regular season on much shakier ground.

Tonight, the Bucks will look to snap a two-game losing streak at Genoa Central in a 6-3A contest that has much at stake for both schools.

Game time is set for 7 p.m.

The Bucks (5-4, 4-2) are in the playoffs, but can formally clinch the league's No.3 seed and host the winner of the 4-3A showdown between Lamar and Paris with a win.

The Dragons (3-6, 2-4) need to beat Smackover and hope Fouke falls at home to Lake Village in order to secure the school's first trip to the playoffs.

Genoa Central enters having won two of its last three games, including a 37-8 road win at Lake Village last week.

During that stretch, the Dragons have scored 120 points, and Smackover coach Mike Baysinger said the Bucks' defense will be tested.

"They're pretty good offensively," Baysinger said. "They put up a lot of points in some games, so they're going to be hard to stop. They run the Wing-T like we saw last week. They'll run some midline, some veer and some Power-G. They're going to be pretty sound in what they do."

Smackover has won all seven meetings between the schools in lopsided fashion, but Baysinger said his team must be focused if they are to be successful on the road.

"They're playing for something, so you know they're going to come out and give it all they got," Baysinger said.

"We're going to have our hands full, so we definitely don't need to get lax right now. It's going to be unique. We've got to get our kids in the mindset that they've got to be prepared for Genoa."

Although the Bucks enter on a two-game skid, the last six quarters in particular have been troublesome, as the Bucks have been outscored 95-14 since leading 14-0 at Junction City two weeks ago.

"We had a come-to-Jesus meeting and did some regrouping and I hope they changed some things," Baysinger said.

"I think they're kind of hungover from the Junction game a little bit, and we explained to them that you cannot base your season on one game. A lot of our kids are going pretty good, so we'll see."

Stopping the Dragons will not be an easy feat.

Genoa Central averages 308 yards rushing per game, and has four players with over 500 yards rushing on the season.

Senior Kole Allen leads the Dragons with 740 yards along with six touchdowns.

Sophomore Patrick Markham has racked up 684 yards, while senior quarterback Bo Jewell has 615 yards with seven touchdowns and sophomore Dalton Savell had 150 yards and three scores last week at Lake Village.

However, throwing the football has been a tough chore for Genoa Central quarterbacks, who have thrown eight interceptions and just one touchdown pass while completing under 33 percent of their passes.

Given their struggles over the last two weeks, Baysinger wants to see his team bounce back before entering the playoffs.

"Yes. There's no doubt," Baysinger said. "Last week was probably the only time that I really felt like we regressed during the week, only in some areas like mental focus and things like that, I thought we really regressed last week.

"I think we need to have a good week of practice, and I think we need to play a good game and shut off some stuff that's hurting us and not being our own worst enemy."

And while the Dragons obviously have a lot to play for, the Bucks certainly do as well.

"I think we need confidence right now," Baysinger said.

"This has been kind of a roller coaster year for us.

"We've had our highs. We've had our lows. Right now, we're at the bottom, and we need to get back on top."

As far has having to play on Thursday instead of Friday is concerned, Baysinger said he wasn't sure if it would play a role or not.

"I don't know," Baysinger said. "I don't think it bothers them as much as the coaches.

"It just feels like you don't have as long to prep, and they think you get to play quicker, so it's kind of a 50-50 deal, but I don't think it's going to be a big deal."

Baysinger added that senior two-way standout Hunter Goocher is likely to return this week after missing last week's loss to McGehee.

"We should have him back," Baysinger said. "He's finishing up his protocol, so I think he's going to be good."

If the Bucks are to end the regular season on a high note, Baysinger said his team must avoid mistakes.

"Defensively, we have to line up sound and play our assignments," Baysinger said.

"Offensively, we have to quit turning the ball over. Period. We've got to quit shooting ourselves in the foot.

"We have drives and show flashes of goodness, then all of a sudden, we fumble or throw a pick and adversity strikes, and right now we're struggling a little bit with adversity, so that's one of those things I think that's going to take some time to fix.

"We can't have the turnovers. We've got to sustain drives, and play smart on offense."

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