Strong ready to take on Carlisle
The last time Strong and Carlisle met on the gridiron, the Bulldogs capped their road trip across Arkansas by winning the 2A state title back in 2011.
On Friday night, the schools will renew acquaintances with each looking to build momentum with the start of conference play looming. Game time is set for 7 p.m. from Carlisle. The Bulldogs (1-0) had to cancel last week's game at Drew Central due to low numbers after holding off Lake Village 16-14 two weeks ago.
The Bison (0-3) will be playing against a 2A team for the first time this year after falling to 4A foes Lonoke, Central Arkansas Christian and Lamar.
Strong coach Sirl Wright said he is expecting a very physical battle.
“They're an old throwback team of the 60s and 70s where they run a traditional Wing-T offense,” Wright said. “They got a lot of two-tight, a lot of end overs, deception by moving one man on side of the ball, just old-school football. A smashmouth football team.”
Although the Bulldogs didn't play last week, their preparation for Drew Central will help team against Carlisle.
“Just slightly,” Wright said. “The difference is Drew Central tried to incorporate more of a spread double-wing because they tried to use shotgun. This team has no shotgun. Everything is under center. They just run their smashmouth, Wing-T plays. If you can stop it, great, if you can't stop it, they're going to keep coming at you all game long.”
Wright said discipline will be a key for his defense.
“Discipline and just keeping that aggressive mentality,” Wright said. “It's going to be more so will power and who is going to block and who is going to tackle. They're going to keep coming at you. Even though they're 0-3 right now, they're well-coached and they pay attention to detail.
“It's just the fact that they have small numbers too. They have roughly 18 kids or so. Basically all of them are pretty much like us and play both ways. With the weather cooling off, that may help a little bit too.”
As far as the Bulldogs are concerned, Wright said that low numbers were something he and his staff were going to have to combat this season.
“We knew that coming into the season we were going to have a numbers issue due to the pandemic going on,” Wright said. “It is what it is, but what we're going to do is just play our best and pull out that Bulldog pride no matter if we have 11 or 77.”
If Strong is to win their second straight, Wright said the Bulldogs must win the battle in the trenches.
“We've got to control the line of scrimmage,” Wright said. “If we can control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and take care of the ball, I think we'll be fine. That's the whole key. If they establish the line of scrimmage, that's their game and it's going to be a long night for us, but I plan on us stepping up to the challenge and seeing if we can pull out another win.”