After suffering their first loss of the season a week ago, Smackover wraps up non-conference play with a foe it is very familiar with.
Tonight, the Bucks (2-1) host Hampton (1-1) in the 10th meeting between the schools dating back to 2001.
Game time is set for 7 p.m.
The Bucks fell at Mineral Springs 64-26, while Hampton rolled to a 46-0 win over Foreman to pick up its first win last week. The Bulldogs were downed by Poyen 20-14 in their opener.
The Bucks, who have won six of the previous nine meetings, outlasted the Bulldogs 28-20 last year in Hampton.
“I’ve been very impressed with the film we have on Hampton from team camps to the last couple weeks,” said Smackover coach David Osborn. “They have improved numbers and seem to be getting better every week.”
Osborn added that his defense faces a tall order this week.
“They are a run-heavy team,” Osborn said.
“They run a version of the double-wing look with a lot of motion and try to get numbers on you. We don’t see this style of offense much anymore so it always makes it difficult to prepare for.”
Junior quarterback Jackson Cole runs Hampton’s offense and senior standout Zy Johnson was praised by Osborn for his aggressiveness and how hard he runs the ball.
In the passing game, the Bulldogs have a weapon in senior wide receiver Tavion Galbert with Osborn noting his size and ability to go up and get the ball.
Defensively, Osborn expects the Bulldogs to change things up from what they’ve seen in previous weeks.
“They run an even front,” Osborn said. “Against us, we expect them to possibly even run an odd front and try to load the box with as many as possible.”
Junior Weston Johnson anchors the defense line for the Bulldogs.
“He fires off hard and can mess up a team’s offense,” Osborn said of Johnson.
A stomach virus limited the Bucks’ practice time last week, but Osborn said the team is nearly back to full strength.
“We will be about 95% this week,” Osborn said. “We are still a little banged up and will be without Devan Lofton (concussion). But it’s been a much better week this week. Last week, we did not have a practice with our entire team due to the virus.”
Against Mineral Springs, the Bucks found themselves down 35-0 in the first half before clawing back to trail 43-26 before losing by the final margin.
The third quarter was a wild one that saw 41 points scored by the schools.
“Overall, I felt that we played flat,” Osborn said. “We got behind early and struggled. I was proud of the guys and how they fought back in the second half. We got within two scores and were driving in for another and the ball just popped straight up to them and they ran it back for a TD. When things like that happened, you can just tell it wasn’t our night.”
Senior Jarius Burgie had a terrific game for the Bucks, scoring three touchdowns.
“Jarius had a big game for us,” Osborn said. “He has done a really good job this year of hitting the hole hard. Against Mineral, he did a good job of cutting back against the grain and going. He has the speed that if he just gets a small crease he can be gone.”
If the Bucks are to bounce back and head into their two-week bye period with a win, Osborn said turnovers will be crucial.
“We have to take care of the ball,” Osborn said. “Our front on both sides of the ball have to do a better job of controlling the line of scrimmage. We must play the option well and make them drive the field. Overall, we just need to play our game and limit mistakes. If we do that, we will give ourselves a chance to be successful.”