El Dorado News

Friday
November 17, 2017
El Dorado News Times

El Dorado looks to end regular season on high note

This article was published November 3, 2017 at 5:00 a.m.

By Tony Burns

Sports Editor

As far as playoff positioning goes, nothing is on the line tonight for El Dorado, which hosts Texarkana in the regular-season finale at Memorial Stadium. But, don’t look for the Wildcats to treat the game as a “casual Friday” affair for a couple of reasons.

El Dorado coach Scott Reed won his 100th game with the Wildcats last week at Russellville. A win tonight would tie Reed with Garland Gregory for the most ever at El Dorado. According to Union County football historian Randy Ross, Gregory posted a 101-42-6 record in 13 years (1953-1965) at El Dorado. In 11 seasons under Reed, the Wildcats have gone 100-38.

“The coaches have given me a hard time about it. They talked about giving me a cake about you have to be old if you get a hundred wins at a place,” said Reed.

“But, Jimmy (Johnson) and Nick (Vaughn) have been here for all of them. It’s something we’re really proud of. It’s a good feeling that you’re at a place long enough to get a hundred.

“You think about all the kids and coaches that have gone through. We’ve had some really good teams. I feel very honored to be apart of it. It’s something neat to have. It really is. The best part about it, too, is we’re having a good year this year and I’ve got a locker room full of guys who are ready to get 101.”

Standing in the way of 101 will be a 5-4 Texarkana squad, coming off a 37-0 win over Siloam Springs.

The Razorbacks have won two of their last three and three of their last five games.

“They’re improving. They’re just really young in spots. They’re junior heavy and then they’ve got a sophomore quarterback and some other young kids,” said Reed.

“This team beat Texas High, which, I think has lost one conference game in their conference in Texas.

“In our conference, they’ve lost a few ball games but they’ve been in them.

“They’re really good defensively and they scare you to death offensively. They’ve got two or three guys that, in space, they’re hard to tackle and they can run.

“They’re talented. (Irijah Price) went up over somebody and I saw him make a one-handed catch in the end zone for a touchdown. They have some talented guys. I think they’ve gotten better.”

Texarkana is led by its 4-2-5 defense.

In their five wins, the Razorbacks have yielded just 8.8 points.

“They have two really good linebackers. They’re active up front, have a real good defensive end. They rotate guys in. Defensively, they’ve been good. They’ve been good defensively all year. It’ll be a good test for us,” said Reed, who said Texarkana’s athletic secondary uses a lot of man coverage.

“It’s not all zero man. Sometimes it’s two-high man. Sometimes it’s one safety and man underneath.

“And, people tend to play us different than they play other teams. Against Siloam Springs, they played two deep and their front handled it, made sure they didn’t get behind them.

“Against other teams, I’ve seen them be a little more aggressive. I don’t know how they’ll see us.”

The Wildcats would like to be multi-dimensional tonight.

“Offensively, we need to be consistent. We need to get our run game going. We need to win up front. It would be nice to see our offensive line be good in the run game,” said Reed.

Offensively, the Razorbacks use a spread attack, triggered by sophomore Sean Foeback, who completed 11-of-22 passes for 210 yards and three touchdowns last week.

The playmakers for the Razorbacks are mostly on the perimeter, led by junior Irijah Price along with Jadas Ross, Drake Browning and DeJordan Mask.

“They move (Price) around. He is really good. He was hurt against us last year as a sophomore. He’s a special player. I mean, he’s really good,” said Reed, who said the quarterback is a thrower more than a runner.

“I would love to be able to get pressure on him. If we let him sit back there, it’s going to be a long night.

“They’re going to make some big plays. The key is, when they do, we just have to tackle them and make ‘em line up again. If they make a 20-yard play and we get ‘em on the ground, they have to do it again.

“We don’t need to have a 20-yard play turn into a touchdown. When they do make a play in space, we need to run to the ball and get those guys on the ground.”

In special teams, Texarkana uses its playmakers as kick returners. Reed said Price returns punts.

“They have explosive kickoff return and punt return. We need to do a great job in coverage,” said Reed, who was asked if the Wildcats might try to kick the ball away from the return men.

“They could, very possibly, be fielding punts on the track this week.”

The Razorbacks are 3-3 in league play and, unlike El Dorado (8-1, 5-1), have a lot hinging on the results of tonight’s game as far as playoff positioning.

“Right now, they’re in a three-way tie for third. They could end up anywhere from third to sixth. So, it is a big game for them,” said Reed, who added another layer of importance for El Dorado. “I don’t want to go into a bye week on a downer. We have improved over the last half of the season.

“I would love to see us continue in that direction. I just don’t think you can turn the switch on and off. If it’s a ball game, you’ve got to play. You go all out. We’re not holding anything back. It has no bearing on playoff implications for us.

“We’re going to be the two seed no matter what. But, the game is important because it’s Senior Night.

“It’s our last home game of the regular season. It’s a rival game. And, we have momentum, right now, and we don’t want to give that up. We want to continue in that direction.”

Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

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