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BHS plan: Pressure Helton, limit Gaston
Maynard has plan for Bearden upset at No. 2 Central


Central’s Bobcats, already a perennial Class 4A state power, are undefeated (4-0) and ranked second in the state.

Bearden’s Bulldogs, a 1-9 Class 5A team last season, are 2-3 so far in 2005.

Is this a Bulldog roast in the making at Central Friday night, when Bearden hits the road to tangle with Joel Helton’s talented squad beginning at 7:30 p.m.? Maybe not.

"I honestly think we can beat Central High School," BHS head coach Paul Maynard said. "I’m not going into this thinking we’re going to keep this close and we just want to walk out with a moral victory.

"But the key to us beating Central High School is for us not to self-destruct," he added. "We can’t turn the ball over, we’ve got to do well in our special teams, and that’s been a problem that’s kinda haunted us. Turnovers have haunted us.


"But I think if we go out and eliminate the mistakes in the kicking game, and we don’t turn the ball over, we move the chains, we’ll score enough points offensively to where we can beat Central High School."

Maynard admits that "it’s a tough matchup" dealing with a talented and experienced quarterback such as Bobcat senior Zach Helton, who can also run in addition to throwing the ball, plus a backfield standout in tailback David Gaston.

The Bearden coach said stopping the run is priority No. 1. "Not only on a high school level but on any level, if you shut the running game down, you’ve forced a team to throw the ball … force Helton to beat us throwing the ball," he said.

"The big thing is getting to Helton," Maynard said about getting a strong pass rush to disrupt Helton’s passing stance.

"Keep him off balance and off-stride in the passing game. … Don’t let him get his feet set. If we can keep him moving around and scrambling around, he doesn’t do a good job throwing on the run … then I think we’ll have ’em where we want ’em.

“It’s when he gets he feet set that he’s dangerous," the coach added. "Usually it’s four or five seconds when he releases the ball, whenever he gets his feet set."

That also includes, "keeping him off-balance with the option, with his running game, his running ability. … We’re going to keep that in check. His running ability’s off the option.”

Maynard said he has enough "faith and confidence what I do on the defensive side of the ball" to limit Gaston and the Bobcat running game.

"I have faith and confidence in our personnel. I don’t think Central High School’s going to run the ball down our throat. In fact, no one to this point has. We’re going to work hard on taking away the big play downfield."

As for matchups, "across the front in the box, we match up with ’em on both sides of the ball," Maynard said. "There’s no doubt in my mind, defensively we haven’t peaked yet, we’re getting better every game. I’ve made some changes this past week, last Friday night, in our defensive secondary. We’re going to get out and focus in on that."

That’s because "they’re going to try and sling the ball downfield on us," Maynard added. Looking at BHS film, "They’ll see that Farragut was able to throw the ball downfield," the coach said of a 27-17 loss to the Admirals Sept. 9.

Central overcame a 10-0 deficit to beat FHS 21-10 Aug. 26.

"Of course, Dobyns-Bennett was, but we’ve made some improvements there, we’ve had some personnel changes and we’re going to work extremely hard on taking away the big play.”

As for a skill position comparison, "I think we can match up with ’em at the skill positions," Maynard said.

In addition, "we’ve made some corrections in our kicking game. And the offense is getting better every game."

The keys offensively for Bearden include “having to be able to run the ball,” Maynard said. “We should be able to run the ball. They’re going to line up with seven, eight people in the box and they’re going to come at us. Everyone has.”

The coach said his offense, with its heavy concentration of sophomores in the offensive line and offensive backfield, has experienced growing pains but is getting better.

“Every game we’ve played we’re getting better,” he said. “It’s just a matter of time before we just unleash on somebody.”

As for Central’s defense, “they’ve got people that can run to the ball,” Maynard said. “They’ve got that good defensive mentality, they like to hit people, aggressive.”

Injury-wise, BHS starting quarterback Dawson Halliday reportedly has a broken toe, and his status is questionable for Friday.

 

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