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Another former division rival stands in front of the Bulldogs this week, as New Albany will host Pontotoc to open their home slate.
“We’re used to the five or six games before we get ready for those division games, but now we’re playing some really tough competition early on,” NAHS coach Ron Price said. “We’re challenging our kids to get better every week, and last week, we saw more mistakes that we’ve made, and we’re trying to clean those up.”
One area the ‘Dawgs are focusing on is the offense. Eliminating turnovers and mistakes is key for this young unit, and it starts with going back to where they started in fall practice.
“We’ve been going back and working on our bread and butter plays and working on getting better at our plays,” senior wide receiver Josh Hardin said. “We want to not rely so much on our defense like we have been the last two weeks and actually put some more points on the board.”
"We’ve just gone back to the very first play we’ve learned in fall practice and ran it several times so the kids know what their assignments are and they understand the defense lining up in front of them,” Price added. “We told our kids we have to find something that will help us get three yards every play and keep going with that. Good teams have plays they can go to in critical situations and they know they’ll be successful, and we’re trying to find that play for us.”
Price noted his defensive unit’s hard work, as they have so far allowed 394 yards in two games.
“We haven’t given up a lot of yards, in my opinion, but the biggest thing is that we haven’t given up a lot of points,” Price said. “A lot of times our opponents are getting to their side of the field and in the red zone and that has been a result of our mistakes and us putting ourselves in a tough position.”
“For us to be a good football team, we have to eliminate the mistakes and take care of the football and we’ve got to quit putting our defense in tough situations. They’ve played outstanding the last two weeks, and they know what stands in front of them now.”
The Bulldogs look to make it two in a row over the Warriors, and memories of Pontotoc’s last visit in 2009 remain on the minds of Hardin and his teammates.
“Pontotoc is always big. I remember two years ago, playing them for homecoming, up 14-0 in the first half and they came back and beat us,” Hardin said. “We just need to go out this year and finish what we start.”
Friday’s kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.