The Smith-Cotton football team has lived by the mantra “go 1-0 every week” since Ryan Boyer became the head coach last year. So far through four games this fall, the Tigers have been 1-0 every week, but have kept the focus on the game before them instead of getting wrapped up in district and conference standings.
“We remind them,” Boyer said. “That’s something we talk about as a staff and tell the kids ‘you’ve done a good job of having some success, getting the community behind them and that’s a great thing.’ Now the one thing you have to remind them is they’re getting a lot of compliments and pats on the back, but focus in and (go) 1-0 for this week.”
The focus for Week 5 is Nevada, a team that beat S-C 35-28 last season at the old Jennie Jaynes Stadium on a kick return in the closing minutes. Nevada comes in 1-3 this season and 1-2 in the West Central Conference.
Nevada’s offense struggled to put points on the board in its first two games, a 41-6 loss to Willard and a 31-7 loss to Center. Since then, Nevada has had more success putting points on the board with a 23-16 win over St. Pius X and a 54-26 loss to O’Hara.
Even trailing O’Hara 22-8 at halftime Week 3, Nevada came up with a quick answer early in the third quarter but the Celtics scored 20 points in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
“They’ve improved each week,” Boyer said. “The line is playing more physical up front. Quarterback (Jacob Hammontree) does some things. I’d say it’s pretty simplistic what they’re trying to do but they’re starting to execute it really well.”
That offense will go against a Smith-Cotton defense which has allowed 16 points per game.
Brice Pannier said the key for the S-C defense to hold Nevada in check will be to “stay in our zones and do our jobs right.”
S-C will have to stop Nevada senior running back Chaden Brandt, who had three touchdowns against the Celtics last week and has put together a solid season so far.
“He’s a downhill, physical runner,” Boyer said. “He was first in the conference in the 100-meters. He’s a fast, physical kid. He’s about 5-9 and he just runs hard. They use him offensively, defensively, special teams. He gets them going.”
“You’ve got to hit him low and hit him hard,” Pannier said.
Boyer said Nevada’s defense has shown several different looks already this year.
“What they showed to O’Hara wasn’t what they showed to Pius so we’re trying to prepare our kids for anything and everything in that regard,” Boyer said.
Eric Ingles can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @Eric_Ingles