STORY BY: JORDAN MESEROLE
It took one year and two weeks for the Rudder Ranger football program to get another victory, but the time for celebration after last week’s 20-17 victory over Magnolia was short.
“We have not mentioned last week’s game all week,” said Rudder head coach C.M. Pier. “That’s gone. What’s done is done. I feel good about our preparations this week, and the kids understand – they’ve got a lot of work to do for this week.”
The Rangers (1-2, 1-0) will attempt to put together a winning streak for the first time in two years on Friday night, as they travel to face off against the Huntsville Hornets (1-2, 0-1) at Bowers Stadium.
Rudder is coming off a win that showed many promising improvements from the first two games of the season, including a more balanced run-pass game and a defensive front that could control the run game.
Senior running back Tre Guyton once again eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark in a game with a 135-yard performance, and added two rushing touchdowns. But just as impressive was senior quarterback Luke Piper who went 11-of-15 for 82 yards and showed more poise in the pocket.
It’s those options that Pier says will allow him to make more offensive attack plans.
“That’s what we want to do – we want to be about 60-40 on the run-pass,” Pier said. “Luke’s doing a good job for us, and he’s still got to get better. And that’s what we talked about this week was ways he can do things better.”
Huntsville will be looking to get its first district win, after a close loss last week to Montgomery. Leading the way for the offensive attack for the Hornets will be senior quarterback Malik Brown, who has the ability to both effectively pass and run, who racked up 126 passing yards and 35 rushing yards along with two scores last week.
“Offensively, they’re going to hit you with a lot of different sets,” Pier said. “The quarterback is definitely the focal point of their offense. He is an efficient passer, and I see them trying to throw the ball early to try and make us back up so they can run the ball.”
It’s a challenge that the Rudder defense appears posed to handle for the first time this season, as last week they contained the Magnolia offense to just 120 rushing yards, the first time this season they held a team to under 200 rushing yards.
But when the ball flies into the air at 7:30 in Huntsville, Pier will only be worried about one thing – the district game victory.
“Friday will be another step towards our goal of making the playoffs,” Pier said.