“EMC comes in and they like to throw the football around all over the field,” head coach Arlton Hudson said. “In this game, our defense has definitely got to make the reads and got to stay at home and just play sound defense. If we can play within ourselves and not get out of sync and make our reads, I feel like we’ll have a really good shot of winning the game.”
The Rebels lost last year’s game in Prattville 40-13.
“Last year, we did a terrible job of holding on to the football,” Hudson said. “We go out and they jump on us early and go up by two scores. We came right back and tied the game up and were driving to go ahead on the first drive in the second half and we go down and fumble the football. They pick it up and run it back for a touchdown. We came right back and it was the same scenario again: drove it to the 4-yard line, fumbled the ball and they picked it up and ran it for a touchdown. So, No.1 we’ve got to hold on to the football. No.2 we’ve just got to play really good football, not make mistakes, and cut out the turnovers. I feel like if we win the turnover battle that we’ll be in good shape on Friday night.”
Hudson said this year’s East Memorial squad relies more heavily on the passing game. Hudson has tried to keep his team focused on what they can do on the field, which includes holding on to the football in this season’s game.
“I think they’re a little more pass-happy this year,” Hudson said. “They had a really big kid last year that graduated that was really effective offensively and defensively for them. They depended on him a lot. This year they’re probably a smaller, faster team than last year and their quarterback came over from Prattville Christian. He does a real good job of throwing the football. It’s just one of those situations where you’ve got to go in and be focused on what you do and not worry about what the other team is doing. I feel like it’s a game where if we go in and play the kind of game we’re capable of playing, I feel like we’ll have good results at the end.”
With the Wildcats being a regional opponent, the game’s stakes are high for the Rebels.
“We’re treating it like a playoff game because it is a region game,” Hudson said. “Every time you win a region game, you’re that much closer to the playoffs. I tell the kids all the time this is the first round of the state playoffs and it is. If we get a win here, then we’ll be 2-1 in the region and it’s a very important game in that regard.”
Hudson praised the CVA fans and hopes for a big crowd on senior night.
“Any time you play at home, it gives you a little bit of an advantage,” Hudson explained. “Our crowd has been really good this year. Our fans come out and support us most of the time, even when we go on the road. I know the two road games we’ve had I’m not too sure we didn’t have more people than the home team did. Coosa Valley is known for people following; everybody likes to play them because they know they’re going to bring a big crowd. It is senior night Friday night, so all the parents and grandparents will be there for that.”
The team will be much healthier this week with several players returning from injury.
“Getting a couple of kids back helped their attitude, it helped us in making some adjustments,” Hudson said. “Last week, we were trying to fill in; I had a second string fullback playing left tackle and we had people scattered out all over the place. You don’t want to go play Restoration with a full football team, much less having to have some replacements in there. The kids know what’s out there; they know this is a chance for us to improve and get back to .500 as a team and just look at the whole scenario and feel good about it. We’re a lot better football team than we were last year. I feel like there’s just good things ahead for us.”
CVA hosts East Memorial Christian tonight at 7 p.m.