When the week began, White Hall coach Mike Vaughn was hoping to see more intensity out of his team in practice this week than last.
White Hall was able to squeak out a 40-28 homecoming victory last week against Hot Springs.
After Tuesday’s practice, Vaughn was already pleased with how the team has looked..
“We had an exceptional practice and the intensity is high and I was pleased with that,” he said. “I feel like we are heading in the right direction, and there are less distractions. This week, they understand what’s at stake.”
Despite the distractions of homecoming and beating rival Watson Chapel the week before, Vaughn said the team was still prepared for Hot Springs.
“They were struggling last week and they still tried to prepare,” he said, “If they weren’t, we would’ve lost the game. So I’ve got to give them credit and that’s good leadership.”
This week, White Hall (6-1, 4-1 5A-South) travels to Hope (3-5, 2-3) to take on a team that has to win or it could be knocked out of the playoffs.
The Bobcats are a game behind Hot Springs for the final playoff spot in the 5A-South. Camden Fairview is 5-0 and White Hall and Watson Chapel are both 4-1. Hot Springs finishes up the season against Camden Fairview and Hot Springs Lakeside. Hope plays Magnolia after White Hall.
“If they beat us, they have a shot, and they are at home and it’s Parents’ Night, so they have everything going for them as far as emotions are concerned,” Vaughn said. “They are very, very talented. They’ve got skill people who have good size and speed.”
Hope has two receivers who are 6-foot-3, junior Kenneth Thompson and senior Vincent Love, who provide problems for White Hall cornerbacks Shuquan Walls (5-10) and Quinton Winston (5-9).
“Matchup-wise, it’s not good for us,” Vaughn said. “We have to get pressure on the quarterback. If you give this man a chance to throw it, it will be difficult.”
The Bulldogs’ defensive backs should be up to the challenge. Last week, Joseph Stewart had three interceptions for the Bulldogs and Vaughn said the team also needs to force a good amount of turnovers against Hope.
“We need to get some picks because they will put it up 80 to 90 percent of the time,” he said. “We need to get some picks to stay in the game.”
Vaughn also added that White Hall will need to put a good number of points on the board. So far, the Bobcats have given up 31 points per game and the Bulldogs are averaging 37 points per game.
Hope’s speed could provide problems for White Hall’s offense, though.
“They rely on quickness and speed and that’s provides problems,” Vaughn said. “(Hope) can break out anytime and be awesome. Matchups are a big thing in high school.
“They line up against our Spread, which they see every day in practice. We are expecting a challenge.”