Leader Blues

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

SPORTS >>Wildcats wary of dangerous Bears

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

Sylvan Hills and North Little Rock meet up again in their annual week-three matchup of neighboring non-conference rivals. Both teams enter the game 1-1. North Little Rock was shut out by Texarkana in week one, then bounced back to easily dispose of J.A. Fair last Friday.

The Bears opened the season with a shocking first-half blitz of LR Catholic and held on for a win in week one, then lost a defensive struggle at Cabot last week. For North Little Rock coach Bryan Hutson, Sylvan Hills’ first two games prove one thing. “Sylvan Hills is a quality football team,” Hutson said. Hutson is first concerned with Bear quarterback Hunter Miller, but knows stopping the Bears doesn’t end with stopping the junior QB.

“That’s just where it starts,” Hutson said. “We’ve got to stop him, but you can’t say you’re just going to solely concentrate on him because they’ve got a lot of other weapons out there in just about every skill position that will beat you just as fast.”
Stopping Miller is two-fold, the junior has been a threat with his arm and legs in two games this year. Hutson just wants to keep him from getting comfortable.

“That’s what makes so hard because he can beat you either way,” Hutson said. “We just have to make sure he doesn’t get comfortable at all back there. If you let him get in a rhythm it’s going to be a long night.” So far the Charging Wildcats haven’t let anyone get into a rhythm. The defense has been remarkable so far. Of the 17 points given up to Texarkana, 14 came in the last quarter after turnovers gave the Razorbacks the ball on NLR’s side of the field.

In week two, the Wildcat first-team defense gave up just three points. The Eagles scored a late touchdown on a short drive to finish with 10. “Our defense has played really, really, really well,” Hutson said. “I’m very proud of the way they’ve come out to start the season.” Hutson isn’t so pleased with the offensive performance so far. It’s not that the offense has been ineffective moving the ball, it’s that it has done more to stop itself than opposing teams have done.

“I’m not pleased with the offense,” Hutson said. “We had 19 penalties last week, and I just don’t have many plays in the playbook for third and 30. We scored 14 points in the first five minutes, but it just became comical with all the penalties after that. It’s just hard to continue to overcome that kind of stuff.”

Catholic and Cabot had pretty good success running the ball against Sylvan Hills. Little Rock has a core of talented receivers and a quarterback quite capable of getting the ball to them. Catholic and Cabot, though, had better success running against the Bears. None of that matters much to North Little Roc’s preparation this week.

“We’re going to try to do whatever we can to get yards,” Hutson said. “We’re still in the process of trying to find what we’re good at and what we’re not good at. We’re making progress. That’s what these non-conference games are for. Hopefully we’ll have some answers by the time conference gets here.” Hutson said. “We’ve got to stop him, but you can’t say you’re just going to solely concentrate on him because they’ve got a lot of other weapons out there in just about every skill position that will beat you just as fast.”

Stopping Miller is two-fold, the junior has been a threat with his arm and legs in two games this year. Hutson just wants to keep him from getting comfortable. “That’s what makes it so hard because he can beat you either way,” Hutson said. “We just have to make sure he doesn’t get comfortable back there at all. If you let him get in a rhythm doing anything it’s going to be a long night.”

So far the Charging Wildcats haven’t let anyone get into a rhythm. The defense has been remarkable so far. Of the 17 points given up to Texarkana, 14 came in the last quarter after turnovers gave the Razorbacks the ball on NLR’s side of the field.
In week two, the Wildcats first-team defense gave up just three points. The Eagles scored a late touchdown on a short drive to finish with 10.

“Our defense has played really, really, really well,” Hutson said. “I’m very proud of the way they’ve come out to start the season.” Hutson isn’t so pleased with the offensive performance so far. It’s not that the offense has been ineffective moving the ball, it’s that it has done more to stop itself than opposing teams have done. “I’m not pleased with the offense,” Hutson said. “We had 19 penalties last week, and I just don’t have many plays in the playbook for third and 30. We scored 14 points in the first five minutes, but it just became comical with all the penalties after that. It’s just hard to continue to overcome that kind of stuff.”

North Little Rock has a core of talented receivers and a capable quarterback who can get the ball to them. Catholic and Cabot, though, had better success running against the Bears, especially in the second half of their respective games.
None of that matters much to North Little Rock’s preparation this week.

Hutson will have the team focused on playing their own brand of football, mistake-free. “We’re going to try to do whatever we can to get yards,” Hutson said. “We’re still in the process of trying to find what we’re good at and what we’re not good at. We’re making progress. That’s what these non-conference games are for. Hopefully we’ll have some answers by the time conference gets here.”

The Bears and Wildcats will kick off at Sylvan Hills High School at 7 p.m. Friday night.