Magnolia could be the perfect bounce-back opponent for Watson Chapel after its tough 48-41 loss to rival White Hall last week.
Magnolia (0-7, 0-4 5A-South) is winless this year and only won two games last year.
It does not matter who Watson Chapel was scheduled to play on Friday, though. Watson Chapel coach George Shelton just wants one thing when Friday night is over — a win.
“The best fix for us right now is to win a ball game,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who we are playing. We have to do things right and try to play better than we did last Friday.”
The loss to White Hall was tough, but the players are not dwelling on it, Shelton said.
“Kids are different than adults,” he said. “They have a shorter memory than we do and it looks like they are on the road to recovery.”
White Hall handed Watson Chapel (5-2, 3-1) its first conference loss of the season, which puts the Wildcats in a tie with White Hall for second in the conference.
Camden Fairview is undefeated in the conference and for the season. Watson Chapel faces Camden Fairview in the last regular season game of the year.
Shelton said the game this week against Magnolia will be important in the conference standings and the playoff seedings.
“We are just trying to improve our conference seeding,” he said. “It’s a game we need to win. We have a loss, White Hall has a loss and Fairview is undefeated. So we are trying to finish out the season and get the highest seeding we can get.”
Watson Chapel scored 41 points last week and it was the fourth time this year the Wildcats have scored 40 or more points.
Watson Chapel’s impressive offensive output should only continue this week against Magnolia. The Panthers are giving up an average of 42 points per game and has only allowed less than 40 points once that season, which was in a 28-7 loss to Hamburg in the third week of the season.
Shelton said the key to the offense will continue to be how the team blocks up front.
“We’ve been reasonably pleased with our progress on offense all season,” he said. “It’s the same old thing. It all follows blocking. Touchdowns follow blocking like daylight follows darkness. We’ve got to continue to block and execute.”
The main problem last week was Watson Chapel’s defense as the Wildcats gave up 48 points for the second time this season. The other time was a week two loss to Pine Bluff. In Watson Chapel’s other five games this season, Watson Chapel has not given up 28 points.
Shelton said last week was not typical of the defensive play he has become accustomed to this season.
“We’ve got to do a better job in our assignments,” he said. “We didn’t play good technique across the board and that’s very uncharacteristic of us. For some reason we just didn’t have it and White Hall had something to do with that.”
Magnolia scored a season high 26 points in a week one loss to Crossett and has scored 20 points in two other games this season. In the rest of their match-ups, the Panthers have failed to score double-digits.