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High School football weekly previews

The Morgan Academy Senators (1-1) has its first home game of the season on Friday night as they host the No. 6 Patrician Academy Saints (2-0).

The two schools haven’t met on the gridiron before, but Morgan Academy head coach Josh Thacker is familiar with the Saints’ program.

“They’re gritty, and they’re going to play assignment football,” Thacker said. “Their head coach (Jonathan Lindsey) is a very, very close friend of mine … The two programs are very familiar with one another. We have different styles of football, but at the same time we have the same type of kids. It should be an exciting game on Friday night.”

The matchup with Patrician is set to be an intriguing matchup that could influence the rankings early in the season. The Saints were the AISA-A state champions last season and have begun the 2018 season on a two-game win streak.

The Senators are coming off a season where they made their first playoff appearance since 2011, and they already took a top-10 team to overtime this season.

The game will come down to defense. Through the first two games of the season both the Senators and the Saints have only allowed 10 points per game to its opponents. Morgan Academy limited Edgewood Academy to two total yards on offense last week.

Patrician runs a Wing-T offense, and the Senators will have to play disciplined assignment defense to limit the Saints offensive attack.

“They get north-south on you very quick and hit you in the mouth,” Thacker said. “They play very physical football, so that’s what we’ve been trying to gear our kids up for all week.”

The Saints operate well as a unit, according to Thacker, so the Senators will have to be prepared for everything instead of keying in on a particular player.

“We’ve got to fly to the football, hold our gap integrity and have great run-fit. There are so many things you have to do when playing a Wing-T football team,” Thacker said. “We just have to play sound, disciplined football.”

The Senators do not have any injured players for this week’s game.

Ellwood Christian

The Ellwood Christian Academy Eagles opens its 2018 football season this week on the road against the Beulah Bobcats on Friday night.

The start of the season will also be the Ellwood Christian head football coach Migeual Catlin’s debut game as the leader of a program.

“I don’t think it’s quite hit me yet,” he said. “It probably won’t like it should until the ball is kicked off on Friday night. I feel good about it. The kids have been working, so we feel good about our game plan.”

The Eagles were winless last season, and Catlin has spent the summer trying to build a program to develop the players and turn around Ellwood’s football misfortunes.

The Bobcats got off to a fast start to its 2018 campaign with a 33-6 win over Loachapoka this past Friday.

The game tape showed Catlin that Beulah likes to run the ball. The Bobcats shredded Loachapoka on the ground and the Eagles will have to prepare for the rushing attack this week.

“This week, we’ve been focused on the run,” Catlin said. “On the film, Beulah is a real physical team. I think they had 400 yards rushing last week against Loachapoka. That’s been our main thing focusing on lining up right and being able to stop the run.”

Meadowview Christian

The Meadowview Christian Trojans (0-1) host the Jackson Academy Eagles (1-0) on Friday for the teams’ second game of the season.

The Trojans had a good week of practice according to head coach Bob Taylor. After losing the season opener 54-6, the team took what they learned from its first game to help prepare for Jackson.

“It’s nice to have some film on somebody to be able to prepare for our game,” Taylor said. “Jackson is very similar to us. They’re a double-wing offense, and they get after it.”

The Eagles are a running football team, and they made that clear in the 34-0 win over Marengo Academy this past Friday. Jackson Academy running back Micah Roberts rushed for 235 yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries in the win. The Eagles offense had 432 total rushing yards in the game.

“They don’t do anything flashy, but they do everything well,” Taylor said. “We’ve got to do our assignments, take care of our responsibilities and continue to improve each week on what we’re trying to do. The biggest thing we focused on this week, is what you have to do and how you have to defend the type of offense they’re running.”

Stopping the run will be the Senators main priority against Roberts and the Eagles.

Meadowview Christian’s Zach Duke has recovered from an injury he sustained during the Russell Christian game this past Friday, and will be ready to play for the Jackson game.