When the 2018 Hurricane Redskin football schedule was released 2 things jumped off the page.
First was that we had to wait until the 4th game of the season to play a game at home, and 3 of the 1st 4 games paired us against three of the top teams in West Virginia. After struggling in losses against perhaps the two top teams in the state, Spring Valley and Capital, the Redskins take on Cabell Midland tonight.
"It's not like we lost to Sisters of the Poor," Hurricane coach Jeremy Taylor told the Herald Dispatch. "We've lost to two top five teams in the state." While Taylor said issues have plagued the Redskins in every phase of the game, one of the biggest has been establishing consistency at quarterback.
Gaining a victory over the Knights will not be easy.
The Redskins will be challenged with stopping running back Ivan Vaughn and the Cabell Midland offense. Spring Valley limited Vaughn to 35 yards on 15 carries in its 35-7 win over the Knights, but Vaughn ran for more than 250 yards against Hurricane a season ago. Even after a shockingly poor performance last week, Vaughn is still the 2nd leading rusher in the MSAC with 535 yards and an average per attempt of 11.4 yards.
Hurricane's Defensive Coordinator Pratt is as concerned in limiting big plays, "Offensively Midland thrives on big plays." in fact their only score last week against Spring Valley was an 88 yard pass play. "They have more big plays on film than almost anyone else in the MSAC. It's always that way. We have to do our jobs and play to our identity to stop them for 4 quarters."
Pratt also knows that the Redskins need a better effort on special teams after suffering a block punt and kickoff return last week at Capital. "Special teams are so important. We have to be 100% on special teams this week, with no let downs."
Senior J.T. Cooper told the Gazette Mail, "It's a long season, its only been 3 games and we played the #1 and #2 teams, we have to learn form those games, keep our focus and win football games."
Coach Taylor has made some offensive adjustments after scoring but one touchdown in the last two games. Expect to see Cooper more involved in the offense after catch a touchdown pass from Nathan Roy last week.
A key for the Skins attack will be to be more balanced, and to do so they must get the passing game going. Whether it is Roy or Austin Womack at QB, the team can not be successful if relying solely on RB Christian Hill (77-409).
Cabell-Midland has owned the recent match up winning 6 of the last 7 contests. Hurricane did win the last game between these 2 rivals played in Hurricane on a dramatic late TD run by Dylan Plumley.
Look for a hard fought chippy contest tonight. Pratt says, "this is always an emotional game, I dont think the kids like each other much."
If truth be told I don't think the coaches care too much for each other either.
Prediction: Well I see our ole friend Nic Scalia as well as Rick Ryan picked the Redkins tonight.
I believe Hurricane played Spring Valley more competitively 2 weeks ago than Cabell-Midland did last week. Do not be fooled by the Redskins 1-2 record, they are still among the 12 best AAA teams in the state, and get to play in front of their crazy fan base for the first time in 2018, against a team they do not like. This will be a great game that you will not want to miss........
Hurricane 31 Cabell Midland 24