Gators ready for Trojans

Updated: September 7, 2018

By Quinton Bagley

Little River News

Foreman quarterback Kyren Batey looks for running room as teammates Nathan Gwin (34) and Chase Gross (2) block a Smackover player during last week’s loss to the Buckaroos in the Hooten’s Blue Cross Blue Shield Kickoff Classic at SAU in Magnolia. The Gators will welcome Parkers Chapel to The Swamp this week for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. — Photo by Rhonda Sharp

Foreman head coach Mark King was not pleased with the Gators’ effort during last week’s Hooten’s Blue Cross-Blue Shield Kickoff Classic at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia. Turnovers were the main issue for Foreman in the loss to Smackover but King said there were lots of things that needed to be improved.

“We didn’t play well at in any aspect of the game against Smackover,” King said. “When you have five turnovers that is a lack of concentration and focus. You won’t win games turning the ball over that many times.
“We came out flat and never played with the intensity that we are used to playing with on either side of the ball,” King continued. “We played soft on defense and that is not us. We didn’t tackle well and we are usually a very good tackling team. Smackover is a very good football team, but I feel that we gave that game away with the turnovers. They had a short field all night long. The bright spot, if there is one after a game like that, is that as bad as we played we were in the game late in the fourth quarter. We were only nine points down with eight minutes left in the game and we had the ball.”

King said he wasn’t concerned. The turnovers and intensity could be corrected in practice.

“We will get the turnover corrected,” King said. “It happens sometimes and you have to deal with it.
“We have several areas that we hope to correct before our next ball game,” King continued. “The biggest thing is that we have to realize that this is a new season and that we have to get back to what got us a championship and that is hard work and doing the little things. Our kids will bounce back and learn from their mistakes and not make the same ones again. I feel this was a big wake-up call for our team.”

With nearly two weeks of practice under their belt since the season opener, the Gators are now ready to get back on the field as they host Parkers Chapel, where King served as head coach for a few years before coming back to southwest Arkansas, on Friday at The Swamp.

“Practice has been good, our players know that we didn’t play very well against Smackover and they are eager to put that performance behind them,” King said. “I have several friends and colleagues at Parkers Chapel. Their head coach, Jacob Midyett, played for me at Parkers Chapel. He was my quarterback my first year there. He is a great young coach and we have remained very close since I left Parkers Chapel. It will be kinda like coaching against a family member come Friday.”

The Trojans are 1-1 this season. They were part of the first game of the Hooten’s Blue Cross-Blue Shield Kickoff Classic at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia losing to Fouke. Last week, they picked up a win against 7AA Conference member Lafayette County.

“Offensively, Parkers Chapel will be in the spread, they like to throw it around,” King said. “They have a very talented quarterback and a real good group of receivers. They love the quick passing game and tunnel screens. They will throw the deep ball 4-5 times a game. They will run the counter and inside zone. Their quarterback is very hard to tackle and he throws the ball on the run extremely well.”

As far as the Trojan defense, King said Parkers Chapel plays very sound fundamentally.

“Defensively they base out of a 4-3 cover 2 look,” King said. “They love to bring pressure and blitz a lot with their linebackers. They get a lot of players to the football on every play. They are very fundamentally sound on the defensive side of the ball. I look for them to mix up their fronts and coverages against us. Everyone changes their defense when they play us. We just have to be ready for any front that they give us.”

One of the best things about this week’s game is that it is the home opener for the Gators.

“It’s always great to be at home in The Swamp,” King said. “Our kids play with a little more swagger when we are at home. I am looking forward to getting home and back into our normal game day routine.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.