Leader Blues

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

SPORTS >>Rams hope to overcome injuries, upset Badgers

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

Beebe and Paragould will begin 5A East conference play this Friday night at Bro Erwin Stadium in Beebe. The Badgers are looking to mount a second straight playoff bid, while the Rams are simply looking to gain some respect in the difficult league.
Paragould has been a back marker in the East for some time now, but was encouraged by some strong youngsters in the preseason. That encouragement is somewhat waned at this point. The Rams have started the season 0-3, and have more injuries than they can shake a crutch at.

“We’re pretty banged up right now,” Paragould coach Brian Carter said. “At this point, we are down to our fourth left corner. We’ve had to make a lot of personnel adjustments. We have four guys that we know are out, and two others that we are waiting to hear from.”

Carter says the loss of receiver Colby Hammon and outside linebacker Andrew Weaver are particularly tough on the team. Those two are done for the year, and the other two questionables did not sound good. Paragould’s lack of depth defensively could spell big trouble on Friday.

The Badgers took a tough road loss last week at Vilonia, but did manage to show off a little youth nitro in the closing moments with a mostly 10th-grade offense marching downfield for their only score of the night.

Carter knows that the Badgers are not that restricted offensively, which is cause for concern for his international cross-roster. “Their passing game is going to be tough,” Carter said. “They like to spread that offense out and create matchup problems. Our biggest disadvantage at this point is lack of athleticism.”

Despite their woes, Carter says his team is not letting the injury problem get them down. The Rams will be looking not only to open the conference season out with a win, but to just get a win, period. “Anytime you come out of the non-conference season like we did, you come out looking for something to pick you up,” Carter said. “Conference is what matters, so you’re always looking to start out on a good note.”

The Badgers have gotten through the first three non-conference games injury free for the most part. What initally would have been considered a game slightly in Beebe’s favor could now be easy pickens for the Badgers, unless the Rams find a slew of subs that can perform a miracle, or set of miracles.

The Badgers and Rams will kick off the East season at 7:30 p.m. in Beebe.