Leader Blues

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

SPORTS >>Catholic wanting revenge on Bears

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

Today’s opening game between Sylvan Hills and Little Rock Catholic will be a test of speed versus size, as the quicker Bears will take on the larger Rockets at Bill Blackwood Field this evening at 7 p.m. Last year’s Hooten’s kickoff-classic game between the two schools would turn out to be one of the Bears’ best performances of the year, with a big first half that would lift them to a first-week win.

That was then, this is now. And according to new Sylvan Hills coach Jim Withrow, there are plenty of concerns, size of which being the biggest.

“They’re huge,” Withrow said. “You look down their roster, and it’s a lot of 6’2”, 300 lbs., 6’0”, 280 lbs. We expect a good old fashioned smash mouth, pound it down their throats type football. We’ll have to play fast and get after them to give ourselves a chance; with some play-action things off the zone.”

For Rockets coach Scooter Register, his team also has what he feels is one must-do task in order to be victorious.

“We know we have to stop Hunter Miller,” Register said. “He is one of the best quarterbacks around, and we don’t want him to have the same kind of game he had against us last year. We were able to come back on them some last year because they got tired, but I’m sure they have worked on their overall conditioning this summer to improve that.

“I think the biggest thing will be who can keep the mistakes down, it may even come down to the kicking game.” Catholic undoubtedly has the advantage when it comes to numbers, with 25 seniors on this year’s team, and what looks to be one of the more sizeable offensive lines in the state.

The Rockets’ most noticeable absence this season is La’Norris Dukes, the bruising running back that ran for nearly 1,300 yards last season. Although the shoes left by Dukes to fill were enourmous, Register says he has another solid back in Chris Rose?

The only major issue for the Bears in the preseason has been snap timing. Miscues in the intra-squad game and scrimmages gave the offense its few bad looks, but Withrow says the only way to rectify the problem is repetitive execution in practices.
“Whatever you run, you’re not going to be great at it right off the bat,” Withrow said. “It doesn’t matter how simple or how complex it is, you can’t just jump off the ship and be perfect. It takes a lot of work, and guys getting more familiar with what’s supposed to be going on.”

The Rockets will visit Bill Blackwood Field today for the season opener, with kickoff at 7 p.m.