“It’ll be a test for our kids, because they’re going to be the best team we play this year,” Herring said. “The only team we’ll play the rest of the year that will look anything like them will be Homewood. Playing this team will be like looking at Homewood because they’ve got that type of size, those types of players, and they’re both the biggest 5A schools in the state. We just want to go out there and compete.”
The Wildcats are 3-1 this season, with the lone loss being to 6A team Opelika 21-7.
Given the fact that Ben Russell has a coach who has so many state championship rings he can’t fit them all on one hand, Herring knows they will be well-coached.
“Coach (Danny) Horn does a great job with those kids,” Herring said. “He’s a Hall of Fame coach. We don’t expect to get anything but their A game. We’re going to go out there and we’re just going to try to slow them down, try to keep it respectable, and come out of the game without any injuries—that’s the main thing.”
Herring believes Ben Russell has the same talent of a 6A team and sees big things for the Wildcats.
“Coach Horn’s son (Bryant Horn) is a quarterback and he is a good player,” Herring said. “They’ve got two running backs that can score at any time. They’ve got two receivers that can catch quick passes and beat you deep. They’ve just got an overall team. I look for them to be in Tuscaloosa this year. They’ve got a team that can be there. They’re big upfront on both sides of the ball. They’ve got linebackers that can run.”
Last week, the Tigers showed a relentless spirit in fighting to keep things interesting until late in the fourth quarter, eventually falling to Chilton County 21-7.
“We were down 7-0 at the half,” Herring recounted. “Then, we got down 14-0. Then, we came back and made it 14-7. We were driving down and we had a fumble at the 30-yard line; that sort of took the wind out of our sails. They went down and made it 21-7, but that’s one thing about these kids: it’s easy to fold your tents and quit when you’re down, but these kids haven’t done it. I don’t think they’re going to do it all year. No matter what the outcome of this week’s game or next week’s game and we’ve still got Shelby County coming, Sylacauga for homecoming and Homewood for senior night and then we go play Munford, we believe in the kids we’ve got out here.”
Herring estimated Ben Russell has an advantage when it comes to senior players, as they have roughly 25 seniors and with roughly 80 players on their roster. Herring knows even though he may not have as many seniors in number, his seniors will give this game their best effort.
“We’re just trying to get our guys focused this week to come out there and play with everything they’ve got,” he said. “That’s one thing they have done is give us effort every game this year. We don’t expect it to be any different. We expect our seniors to get out there and lead. No matter what happens we’re going to have class and have a little character and come back home and get ready for our region game with Briarwood. It doesn’t get any easier.”
Herring believes his team has had a good week of practice to prepare for a heavyweight opponent.
“We’ve looked good,” Herring said. “Our kids are hyped up. They’re ready to play. They know what kind of team they’re playing. It was sort of embarrassing last year with the score (49-0). That’s one thing we want to do: go out there and just try to make the score respectable.”