Bucks, Red­bugs ready for show­down

El Dorado News-Times - - Sports - By Ja­son Avery News-Times Staff

The last time Fordyce played at Smack­over, they walked off the field with a loss. They haven't been de­feated in 6-3A play since.

The Red­bugs, win­ners of 13 straight con­fer­ence games, re­turn to Smack­over nearly two years af­ter los­ing their last con­fer­ence game to tan­gle with the Bucks in a bat­tle of 6-3A un­beat­ens on Fri­day night.

Game time is set for 7 p.m. Fordyce (4-2, 3-0) has bounced back from an 0-2 start to win four straight, while Smack­over (4-2, 3-0) has won three straight af­ter los­ing con­sec­u­tive non-con­fer­ence games to Harding Academy and Foun­tain Lake.

The Red­bugs have a di­verse run­ning at­tack, as four play­ers have rushed for over 200 yards.

But what re­ally makes the Red­bugs stand out is their youth.

Ja­heim Brown, a fresh­man, guides the Red­bugs' of­fense.

Brown leads the Red­bugs with eight rush­ing touch­downs while av­er­ag­ing just over four yards per carry.

Although he has com­pleted only 44 per­cent of his passes and has just one pass­ing touch­down against three in­ter­cep­tions, Brown threw the ball well at Fouke, go­ing 12-of-19 for 107 yards with a touch­down and an in­ter­cep­tion in the Red­bugs' come­from-be­hind vic­tory.

An­other fresh­man leads Fordyce's ground game.

Quartey Shel­ton has av­er­aged 7.4 yards per carry en route to col­lect­ing 325 yards, the bulk of which has come in the last two weeks, as Shel­ton has picked up 129 and 125 yards re­spec­tively

against Fouke and Lake Vil­lage.

Tray Hud­son, a sopho­more, ran for 195 yards on just 10 car­ries at Mon­ti­cello, while ju­nior Wanja Mor­ris av­er­ages 12.5 yards per carry and is also Fordyce's lead­ing tack­ler on de­fense.

For Smack­over coach Mike Baysinger, the Red­bugs' dif­fer­ent looks on of­fense will pro­vide a big test for his team.

"They're go­ing to be pretty good of­fen­sively and de­fen­sively. They're fairly young, but they're pretty good," Baysinger said. "They go from the Wing-T to spread, so they're go­ing to be mul­ti­ple with a lot of for­ma­tions, but lean a lit­tle more to­wards the Wing-T right now."

Since 2010, the Red­bugs and Bucks have met eight times with Bucks hold­ing a 5-3 lead in the se­ries, but Fordyce snapped Smack­over's four-game win­ning streak in the se­ries last year.

Now the Bucks and Red­bugs meet with play­off po­si­tion­ing at stake, and Baysinger said his team's fo­cus has been sharper than what it has dur­ing lack­lus­ter show­ings over the last three weeks.

"They seemed to be more fo­cused than they have the last few weeks," Baysinger said.

Although it would be easy to get caught up in dis­cussing po­ten­tial post­sea­son sce­nar­ios, Baysinger said that is some­thing the team has stayed away from.

"We've kept to the ba­sics," Baysinger said. "The coaches have talked a lit­tle bit about it, but we re­ally haven't dis­cussed it with the kids."

Smack­over came away with their sec­ond straight road win in con­fer­ence play by win­ning at Drew Cen­tral last week, and Baysinger said the Bucks were able to avoid the slow start that dogged them against Fouke and Lake Vil­lage.

"We ac­tu­ally started off pretty good, and then we kind of hung around," Baysinger said. "Our prac­tice was bet­ter, but of­fen­sively, we're still hurt­ing our­selves a lit­tle bit. Some bad snaps re­ally killed us more than any­thing else, so I'd like some as­pects of that fixed with that. Other than that, it was bet­ter."

Ju­nior quar­ter­back Roshard Boone had a solid night, com­plet­ing 12 of his 17 passes for 214 yards and two touch­downs, both of which went to Jaqueze Mod­ica, and Baysinger said the Bucks will have to be able to throw the ball against Fordyce.

"We kind of thought it was turn­ing the cor­ner, but we lost two start­ing wide re­ceivers, so that kind of changed it a lit­tle bit for us," Baysinger said. "We're go­ing to stay with it, and I think dur­ing the Fordyce game, we're go­ing to have to run the foot­ball, but I think we're go­ing to have to throw it to be suc­cess­ful."

Smack­over's de­fense was on the field for 65 snaps and al­lowed 289 yards, but held the Pi­rates to just eight points.

"They did a good job," Baysinger said. "Drew Cen­tral moved the ball, but we kept them out of the end zone. We cre­ated a cou­ple of turnovers, which was nice. I'll take that bend-but­don't break."

As far as be­ing on the field for 65 snaps, Baysinger said the of­fense must be able to keep drives go­ing in or­der to keep the de­fense off the field.

"I think it was more re­ally of not sus­tain­ing drives of­fen­sively," Baysinger said. "We would move the ball well and then have a bad snap or a fum­ble. It was one of those things where they are a three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust team. I was talk­ing to some­body the other day, and McGe­hee had run 50 snaps in the first half. Some­times some of those teams like that tend to run a lot of plays and keep the ball for awhile."

With it be­ing a big con­fer­ence game, Baysinger be­lieves the Bucks will be ready.

"More spark and I think this also gives us a bet­ter idea of where we're at right now," Baysinger said. "This is go­ing to be a good test for us. I think we've got to be sound de­fen­sively. I think we have to sus­tain drives of­fen­sively. I think we've got to put 10, 15-play drives to­gether, in­stead of just one play, or two and three-and-outs. I think we have to be bet­ter con­sis­tently on of­fense. We just have to not blow as­sign­ments our­selves. We'll have a bad snap and you look up and it's sec­ond-and-18. Those things have killed us lately, so if we fix some of those small things, I re­ally think we'll be OK."

Ter­rance Arm­stard/News-Times

Avoid­ing Pan­thers: Smack­over's Jaqueze Mod­ica tries to break from the grasp of Fouke's Charley Baker (7) and Kade Foster (4) as Haiden Jones (11) leaps over Mod­ica dur­ing their 6-3A con­test ear­lier this sea­son at Smack­over. Tonight, the Bucks host Fordyce in a clash of un­de­feated teams in con­fer­ence play.

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