Leader Blues

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

SPORTS >> Falcons to get visit from standout Dyer

By TODD TRAUB
Leader sports editor

Here he comes.

North Pulaski will be the latest team trying to stop Little Rock Christian standout Michael Dyer when the Warriors visit Falcon Stadium on Friday.

Dyer, the state’s most sought-after recruit this season, rushed for 340 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s victory over Morrilton. The week before, he led the Warriors past Pulaski Oak Grove with 187 yards and four touchdowns and had a pair of late touchdown-saving tackles at linebacker that preserved the 28-22 victory.

Dyer enters this week with 6,122 career yards and 61 touchdowns and is on the wish list of most major college programs in the region including Arkansas and Auburn.

Dyer appeared to be leaning toward Auburn as the season opened but has since backed away and said only that he is keeping his options open.

“Oh man, yeah, he’s the best back in the state, probably one of the best backs in Arkansas football history,” North Pulaski coach Rick Russell said. “They give him the ball a lot. They use him as a decoy. Last week, I guess, they played Morrilton and they keyed on him a lot and then the quarterback kept for a 30- or 40-yard touchdown.

“Not only can he beat you but keying on him can beat you if you don’t play assignment football.”

Little Rock Christian lines up in a variation of the shotgun that coaches are calling “the pistol” because the quarterback doesn’t line up as deep. Dyer, a muscular 5-9, 210 pounds, lines up behind the quarterback and the Warriors split two receivers wide of the tight end on one side with another tight end on the other side.

Russell said the Warriors’ running game is somewhat one dimensional, but with Dyer, Little Rock Christian has the dimension it needs in the backfield.

“It’s going to be a pretty good offense to prepare against but, yeah, it starts with Mr. Dyer,” Russell said.

It doesn’t always end with Dyer. Among their other weapons, the Warriors have 6-6 tight end Dakota Mosley, who starred at the U.S. Army Combine in San Antonio in January.

“He’s a big-time player,” Russell said. “He’s a major college prospect also. He looks like a college player right now.”

After losing 40-7 to Dumas and 27-7 to Pulaski Oak Grove, the Falcons, who have won just 10 games this decade, could be forgiven if they were feeling a little beaten down. But Russell, the former Jacksonville High defensive coordinator in his first year as North Pulaski head coach, said the team is trying to build on the positive elements each week.

“The kids don’t like losing. Nobody likes losing and I’m glad they don’t,” Russell said. “There was a lot of disappointment Friday night but we went back to work Saturday morning.”

One of the bright spots has been the Falcons’ running game featuring Billy Barron and former quarterback Darius Cage. But Russell said North Pulaski needs to get its passing attack, led by sophomore Shyheim Barron, in gear or opposing defenses can simply load up on the line of scrimmage to stop the run.

With Dyer coming to town, motivation won’t be a problem, Russell said.

“The kids see a high profile player and they get excited about playing against him to see how they match up,” Russell said.