Bulldogs prepare for stiff test from Panthers - WRBL

Bulldogs prepare for stiff test from Panthers

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OPELIKA, Ala. -

Brian Blackmon says his team has been here before.

Week four, to be exact, when Opelika took on Carver-Montgomery, and "here" is a matchup of top-10 teams in the state.

The Bulldogs are back there again, as they host Smiths Station on Friday in a matchup of undefeated teams that could very well decide the Alabama 3-6A champ.

"This will be the most physical ballgame we play all year," Blackmon said. "They have a lot more team speed than they've had in the past, but they still bring that same mentality to the ballgame."

No question where Smiths Station makes their money: it's on the ground. The Panthers average 244.7 yards per game on the ground, paced by Devante Marshall with 114.2.

"They're going to shorten the game," Blackmon said. "You're going to get a limited number of offensive snaps so you have to take advantage of those. From a defensive standpoint, you have to be able to force bad first-down plays, put them in third-and-longs."

Blackmon also said the Panthers are better on those third-and-long situations than they have been in the past, and they are throwing the ball better, though they average just 112.5 passing yards per game. Keeping them there will be a key for the Bulldogs, as will staying balanced on offense.

"We've played really well defensively," Blackmon said. "We're really fast. I think, from an offensive standpoint, you have to figure out a way to stop our running game. Reggie Hall has been playing very well for us this year. I think Matthew Christian has really made a lot of improvements in our passing game. He's had two consecutive games with over 200 yards passing. Our receiving corps has done a great job of keeping us in the ballgame."

Hall is averaging an even 111 yards per game on the ground.

Kickoff is scheduled for 8/7:00 p.m. CT on Friday at Bulldog Stadium.

Jonathan Huskey

Jonathan comes to News 3 from Fort Smith/Fayetteville, Ark., where he anchored weekends and reported during the week on some of the best high school sports in the state. More>>

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