Bearcats vs. Lumberjacks: What to watch for tonight


WHEN WARREN’S ON OFFENSE

Can Warren move the chains against Booneville?

Booneville’s defense shut out Dollarway’s offense in the first half last week. Every offensive possession will be important for Warren due to the fact the running game of the Bearcats will take a lot of time off of the clock. Warren has the skill players to score quickly; the Lumberjacks just have to make sure that they can find a way to get on the board.

Most of Booneville’s players play both sides of the football, including quarterback Cody Harrel, who was recently named the 4A defensive player of the year.

Booneville head coach Scott Hyatt said the turnovers were mostly due to the poor weather conditions, but they were fortunate enough to be able to capitalize on opportunities.

Going into last week’s game, Dollarway averaged about 521 yards a game including 355 yards on the ground. Booneville’s defense held the Cardinals to just 162 total yards.

Who will be X-factors?

Junior wide receiver Jaylon Marshall, junior running back Kilay Cox and the offensive line will be the X-factors. Most of Marshall’s catches through the playoffs have gone for more than 20 or more yards and usually sets up the team to get in scoring position. Cox has comeback in the playoffs from an ankle injury to pound his way for first downs.

Drake Jones should be 100 percent healthy and will need his offensive line to protect him from Booneville’s unheralded defensive front consisting of junior nose guard Justin Shackleford, senior defensive tackle Dalton Gray and senior middle linebacker Damon May.

WHEN WARREN’S ON DEFENSE

Can Booneville’s running game be stopped?

With a double wing set, Booneville’s offense runs the ball to gain yards for short down situations. Booneville may win the time of possession battle but Warren’s defensive front will have to make a case of stopping the Bearcats on first down. To ensure this, the Lumberjacks will have to make it third and long for the Bearcats, something that Hembree says “they really haven’t seen all season.”

In last week’s win over Dollarway, Booneville threw it just twice, including a 27-yard pass for a touchdown in the third quarter.

The key to Booneville’s success in the playoffs has been its ability to control the clock while on the offense is on the field.

In the first half against the Cardinals, Booneville had the ball almost twice as long as Dollarway because it was able to pick up first downs by averaging nearly five yards a carry. Booneville had 328 yards rushing on 52 carries in the win.

Harrel an offensive threat

Harrel, the senior quarterback for Booneville, ran for 164 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win over Dollarway. He has rushed for 1,203 yards and 15 scores this season and his ahtleticism and strength make him a constant threat to score, especially when Booneville nears the end zone.

Who will step up on defense for Warren?

Senior safety Odis Miller has been converted to cornerback for this game to keep one of the wing backs in check. This leaves junior safety Calyx Harris to deal with not getting beat deep.

Harris can’t get too caught up on the running game because the Bearcats will pass if they see a guaranteed opportunity. Lafoy Smith and Aaron Church will be on the defensive line to watch the guards pull and to fend off the play of Booneville fullback Bryson May.