CMS looks for third consecutive win
Riding the momentum of back-to-back wins, Cutter Morning Star travels to Woodlawn in search of a third-straight victory Friday night.
The Eagles (2-3) started the season slowly, but the team has increasingly adapted to eight-man football. CMS head coach Matt Kinsinger said he feels that he’s getting better at calling plays and running practice within the eight-man game.
Although Kinsinger said while on the sidelines eight-man football doesn’t seem any different from 11-man, it really has been different, but his coaching staff and players alike seem to be getting more comfortable with the new style of football. Low numbers and injuries have even forced the Eagles to run practice a little differently sometimes.
“If you got one or two guys that are a little bit banged up and you just want to get minimum or limited reps in practice, sometimes you don’t have another guy to go to,” he said. “It’s kind of like a worst case scenario situation where I’m putting wide receivers in at guard, and we’re putting a tight end at running back and quarterback. The kids kind of have fun with it. It’s like the whole world’s about to melt down, worst case scenario, we’ve got eight guys left to go onto the field.”
Kinsinger called Friday’s game against Woodlawn critical.
“(We’re) getting into the meat of our conference, and we’re fixing to face good opponents every week now,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to seeing how our kids rise to the challenge and how they adjust to games that are kind of a little bit tighter.”
The Bears have a 40-26 win over Rose Bud and a 56-28 loss against Mountain Pine this season along with a canceled game against Subiaco Academy.
“Woodlawn’s been a successful eight-man team since eight-man has been here in Arkansas, since 2018 I believe,” Kinsinger said. “They do a very good job. They are physical. They’re going to really challenge us up front and in the box as far as their run game goes.”
Looking at the Eagles’ offense, in the team’s 52-16 win at Cedar Ridge, senior quarterback LaShawn Jones carried the ball nine times for 178 yards and four touchdowns.
Throughout the season Kinsinger has emphasized Jones’ role as both a leader and playmaker on the team. Although Jones is still expected to make plays on defense, Kinsinger has tried to give him more rest when he can.
“First and foremost what helps LaShawn in his success is that he’s a good leader and he’s poised,” he said. “But also because we’re having kind of two-headed monster where Spring Hill, it was just him primarily. That’s where I got better as a coach just for the fact that I knew I had to spread the ball around and not put him in a situation where I’m just going to wear him out.”
With Jones playing so many snaps and making big plays for CMS, the Eagles needed someone else to step up and help Jones in a big way. Sophomore Caleb Scoles did just that against Cedar Ridge with 159 yards and a score on six carries.
Throughout the season, Scoles has filled in for the Eagles wherever he’s needed. In the team’s 4614 win over Hermitage, sophomore Edwin Mancinas rushed for 210 yards and four touchdowns. However, Mancinas was not able to play against Cedar Ridge, and Scoles was the next man up.
“The first thing I’m going to say about Caleb is he’s a young guy, and he’s accepted the challenge of wherever I put him,” Kinsinger said. “He’s kind of like my Swiss Army knife where if we’ve got a guy down I can put him on defense at corner, I can put him at outside linebacker. I can put him on offense at wide receiver and quarterback. He gets reps there. He gets reps at running back, wing back — I mean he can do it all. His willingness to be able to do whatever I ask him to do has been beneficial for him and for our team.”
Kinsinger also highlighted his offensive line and how well they’ve blocked for whoever is rushing the ball.
“There’s some good blocking going on up front,” he said. “So I think seeing multiple backs being able to rush for that many yards is really showing the maturity and our cohesiveness as a front line there to be able to do that.”
Heading into the game against Woodlawn, Kinsinger said his team is about as banged up as it has been all season. However, he added that it’s just part of football during this time of the year.
Kickoff in Rison is set for 7 p.m.