By Tony Burns
El Dorado’s open date comes at a good time. The Wildcats fell to Cabot 27-10 on Friday and will have the week off to prepare for the 6A-West opener at Lake Hamilton on Sept. 21.
The Panthers’ Dead-T produced 281 yards on 58 rushing plays in a bruising contest.
El Dorado defensive coordinator Justin Wylie said Saturday the game took a physical toll.
“We’ve got a couple defensive linemen that are banged up. I’m sure guys woke up this morning and were sore all over. It was a physical ball game,” said Wylie, who was asked if the players would get extra time for healing.
“We’ll go out Monday and run, do a couple of things and get our body moving. It’ll probably be heavier on Tuesday and Thursday.”
Cabot’s offense is so unique. The Wildcats probably won’t face another rushing attack similar this season. How will playing the Panthers help El Dorado later on down the road?
“Lake Hamilton is a run-heavy offense, too. Although last year they threw the ball probably 20 times against us. But, the thing is, what you take away from these games is you’re playing great competition, first and foremost. And then, it exposes you on some things, some things you can work on and correct,” said Wylie.
“Watching the film today and even talking about it all night, was our pad level was too high. Not just our front guys, everybody that was out there. When you play them, even your safeties have to have low pad level. You have that on film, now. And, we’ve gone against two really good offensive lines in Conway and Cabot. They’re different in what they do but they’re good at what they do. That experience is invaluable.”
What is the primary difference between Lake Hamilton’s run game and Cabot’s?
“Their offense is more predicated on angles and things like that,” he said of the Wolves. “Cabot is more straight forward, smash mouth run you over. That is the difference between the two different attacks.”
Cabot’s victory, basically, came down to a pair of fourth-down conversions that went for touchdowns. Wylie stressed the importance of making the key play at the key time,
“In those situations, we have to learn from it and we have to get off the field,” he said. “As frustrating as it was at times, we had at least two opportunities in the first half to stop drives and we didn’t do that, which was disappointing.”
Despite the loss, Wylie and Coach Scott Reed both pointed out the effort of the Wildcats from start to finish. Cabot’s offense has demoralized opponents in the past but El Dorado was still fighting at the end.
That effort should pay off in the future.
As for the open date, Wylie said it’s still a work week.
“We’re going to get back to the fundamentals. Little things turn out to be big things and lead to you losing ball games,” he said. “We’re going to get back to that and taking the time to break it down into smaller pieces. Make sure we’re ready to go by the time conference comes around.”