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Wildcats focus on putting out fires

by Tony Burns | September 5, 2021 at 5:44 p.m.

El Dorado defensive coordinator Trey Outlaw said wants his defense to have the mentality of a fireman.

“It’s not the fireman’s fault that the house is on fire. It’s his job to go put it out,” the coach explained.

The Wildcats didn’t start all the fires Thursday. But at the end of the night, they saved the house.

“I was really proud of our defense for overcoming things that may not go our way whether it’s having a linebacker on the wrong side or a penalty or a trick play where they snuck a receiver on the field. That was a phenomenal play by Camden, by the way, sneaking a guy on the field,” Outlaw said. “When things don’t go your way, if you’re going to be a good defense, you have to play the next play. That’s something we’ve talked about.”

Credit Camden Fairview’s offense for some of the fireworks. The Cardinals switched from spread to heavy run at a moment’s notice. It forced some quick adjusting from the Wildcats.

On one play, the Cardinals, who flexed the quarterback out wide, sent the QB in motion. El Dorado’s defense adjusted, leaving the entire left side unaccounted for. Fairview’s JaToney McGhee ran unencumbered around the outside to the end zone.

Chalk it up to a learning experience for the Wildcats, who had a linebacker line up on the wrong side on the play.

“One of the things we focus on is alignment and assignment. We didn’t get the first one right. That’s always on me whenever we don’t get the alignment correct. That’s not on the kid. That’s on me.”

Outlaw could laugh about it after the fact.

“Javeon Carroll is a really smart football player. He’s one of these kids who knows our offense, knows our defense. It’s funny how he’s a defensive lineman and knows what the secondary is doing. He likes football,” said Outlaw. “We had him lined up on the tight end and, basically, his job was to be responsible for the tight end, just wear him out. He came off the field and he goes, ‘Alright, I know I have the tight end but please tell me I don’t have the tight end and set the edge.’ I said, ‘No, you don’t. That’s impossible.’ Just for him to have the wherewithal to go, ‘Was I supposed to do this?’ The kid was on the wrong side of the field but that was my fault for him being on the wrong side of the field.”

Ironically, the play was designed to be run to the opposite side of the field. McGhee saw El Dorado’s mistake and made the play all on his own.

“It was designed to go to the side where we had two outside backers on the same side. If that kid didn’t have good vision, we would’ve looked really good on accident,” Outlaw said.

• • •

Before the season, Outlaw talked about cornerback Mario Ganter having “boring” games with very few statistics. On Thursday, the senior had a pass breakup and two tackles despite being matched up one-on-one on the outside.

“I can’t remember how many times he got targeted, not very many,” said Outlaw.

“What I really liked and it’s not going to be in the stat line, he was very physical, jamming guys at the line. There was one where he took a kid and put him all the way into our bench, basically sat him on the bench on our sideline. I hope he puts that on his highlights.”

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