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Coach Brian Glass says Prescott team better than he expected, but Gurdon offense poses challenges

Prescott’s Dwayne White catches a touchdown pass from Carston Poole in its game against the Hope Bobcats last Friday.

Prescott, coming off a 60-20 win at home against Hope, will face an undefeated Gurdon Go-Devils squad defending their home field tonight. Gurdon (4-0) has one positional group that has Prescott Coach Glass believes can mount a challenge to the Curley Wolves (3-0).

“Mostly the offensive line. They do a good job getting off the ball. And I think they’re going to try to get first downs, keep our offense off the field. Our challenge is not to allow those guys to get [the ball] and eat the clock up” Glass said today.

The particular kind of offense Gurdon favors might also pose problems. “We’re going to have to get some stops and some three-and-outs, and that is going to be a challenge, that two tight [end] wishbone they run. It’s difficult to keep them from getting 10 yards in three or four plays.”

Glass is referring to a formation that puts tight-ends at the ends of the offensive line, a fullback immediately behind the quarterback who is immediately behind the center, and two backs side by side behind the fullback. It’s known for its use of indirection to fool defenses about who the ball carrier will be.

In defending against the two tight wishbone, the defensive line needs to be aggressive. Glass says he has been impressed by the improvement he has seen in Prescott’s defensive line since before the season began. “Coach Wood has done a great job with them. Tayler Wood is our defensive line coach, and he’s embraced it and has been working hard with those guys. … They showed a lot of improvement against Hope.  They got a lot of lockdown, kick out, some counter stuff, some similar stuff to what we’ll see today. And they just did an outstanding job, especially in the first half, setting the tone. And in creating a tempo for the game.”

Another point of concern Glass had before the season started was his offensive line, but again this group has impressed and improvement is still possible. “They’re getting better. They’ve still got some kinks to work out. We’re playing about seven guys on the first offensive line. Maybe even eight guys played last week in the first half.  We’re still searching for somebody to take a couple positions there and run with it.”

You might never know of Glass’ concerns about the front four from the success of the Curley Wolves at protecting their quarterback, running the ball and running up the score. Meanwhile, a problem many coaches would love to have, tipping so many games into the mercy rule, in which the clock cannot be stopped during a 35-point or higher deficit, means Glass must make sure his team’s endurance can still push through a four-quarter or perhaps even overtime game.

Glass points to his team’s experience in the two longer games this year against Bismarck and Fordyce. During the Hope game, Glass put the starters back in after the mercy rule was invoked to keep things fair for an opponent lacking in depth and to get those players used to playing for extended time.

In terms of improvements in individual players, Glass singled out senior Carston Poole, the team’s quarterback, who has improved even more than expected from an already formidable set of skills displayed last year. Travion Dickens has excelled converting from linebacker to running back. Eric Grigsby “stepped up at receiver and can even run the ball.”

On defense meanwhile, the linebackers, Glass said, have done a good job. “Last week Tidorian Thompson had 13 tackles. Talan Smith had eight or ten tackles, including the big two sacks that caused two fumbles. One was a scoop and score for [Jamarion] Burton, and then Pierce Yates, he’s going to have ten or more tackles every week. That’s just the way he is.”

Concerning fan support, Glass is quite grateful and expects it to continue growing. “The Hope game was the biggest crowd for a regular-season game I think I’ve seen in the last five or six years. It was packed. It was fun. The crowd was into it. And I think we would probably see around 3,000 tonight, maybe better than that. It’s going to be packed.”

Kickoff tonight is in Gurdon’s Go-Devils stadium at 7:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on SWARK.Today.

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