Leader Blues

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

SPORTS >>Mustangs wary of winless Sylvan Hills

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

Forrest City is 2-1 in conference play and Sylvan Hills is 0-3, but don’t expect the Mustangs to take the struggling Bears lightly. The two teams were in similar situations when last year’s meeting took place, and Forrest City barely escaped Sherwood with a one-point victory over the big underdogs.

Mustang coach Scott Reed remembers vividly that game, and says his team does too. “One thing we learned about them last year is that they’re going to fight no matter if they’re down or not or by how much,” Reed said. “They showed us a lot of character last year playing the way they did against us and ending the season like they did. Expecting an easy game won’t even cross our minds.”

Reed is aware of the weapons the Bears possess. Although Sylvan Hills has yet to duplicate its outstanding week-one performance, no one will forget it, especially the upcoming competition. “They’ve struggled for whatever reasons since then, but all you have to do to see what they’re capable of is look at that game against Catholic,” Reed said. “You can’t look at that game and think this is a team that can’t beat you. They have a lot of speed, a lot of good players.”

Reed even had a list of players he’s worried about. “Shod Neely is a good player. No. 70 and No. 82 are guys that look real strong on our film. Of course that quarterback is a double threat. They’ve got good running backs and a lot of speed at receiver. (Tyler) Roark is a kid that makes plays for them all the time. You just have to be on your toes are this team will hurt you.”

While Reed gave quite a scouting report on the Bears, he says it’s his own team that he’s concerned about the most. Reed’s Mustangs are in the process of revamping the offense to fit its new dual-quarterback system.

Forrest City was forced to resort to the new system when two-year starter ?? went down with an ankle injury against Searcy two weeks ago. ?? Barton and Lee Smith are alternating at quarterback now, but they are running a more-run-oriented system.

“They’re not as far along in our passing game so we’re changing some things to try and do what they are best at.” Reed said. “Anytime you lose a kid like ??, it does effect you, but we’re going to get better at what we’re doing.”

The new offense managed just 115 total yards in last week’s loss to Marion, but defensively it was FC’s best game so far.
“We are getting better on defense,” Reed said. “They played better than they have all year against Marion. They gave up a big play, and our offense didn’t help them, but they had a great game. I’m very pleased with the progress we’re making on that side of the ball. Hopefully the offense will improve and keep them off the field a little bit this week.”