WHITE HALL — To say White Hall will face its first true competition Friday night is a huge understatement as the Bulldogs (4-0, 1-0 5A-South) are scheduled to face Camden Fairview (4-0, 1-0).
“Anytime you have to face the number one team in the state, you got a true test,” White Hall head coach Mike Vaughn said. “But we haven’t changed anything (as far as practiced is concerned).
“We are just trying to get better at what we do and make our adjustments. At this stage of the game, there is not a whole lot you can do.”
Camden Fairview, the defending 5A state champions, has won 18 straight games and 27 consecutive conference games.
“We just have to fix what we do,” Vaughn said. “They are going to exploit our mistakes and weakness and we really have to improve those things more than anything.”
Cardinal senior quarterback Matt Ollison has completed 56-of-87 passes (64 percent) for 965 yards and 10 touchdowns this year, while senior Deion Holliman has caught 17 passes for 383 yards and six TDs and rushed for 128 yards and two scores in three games.
“They are a really good football team that is really balanced,” Vaughn said. “They do a lot of things right.
“We need to do what we do well but that’s going to be anytime you play somebody that’s real good.”
Fairview sophomore running backs Demarea Crockett and D.J. Franklin have combined for 205 yards and two TDs this fall.
With last week’s win over Magnolia, the Bulldogs moved to 4-0 for the first time under Vaughn, who has been head coach at White Hall since 2002.
“I don’t know if this is the first time White Hall has been 4-0 but I know it is the first time since I’ve been back here,” Vaughn said. “It feels really good at this point. Undefeated makes you feel good.”
The coach credited his seniors for the team’s success so far.
“Our senior leadership has been really good,” Vaughn said. “They pushed during the offseason and during the summer.
“Our senior leadership has been a big deal in this.”
In last week’s 35-6 win over Magnolia, White Hall junior Kirk Baugh threw two touchdown passes and ran for a score. He finished 9-of-13 for 123 yards.
Senior running back Irvin Tisdale had six carries for 99 yards. Unfortunately, Tisdale is expected to miss at least five weeks after suffering a broken collarbone during the game.
“It is going to be tough, but we’ve got some kids that can step up and fill his shoes,” Vaughn said. “Tisdale is a great athlete, probably a college athlete.
“But now we need the next guy to be ready to play and that’s all you can do. I think we will be fine.”
Tisdale had a big game against Sheridan on Sept. 20, finishing with 68 yards on eight carries with two touchdowns. He also returned an interception 70 yards for a score in the 40-14 win over the Yellowjackets.
For Friday’s game against Camden Fairview, Vaughn said White Hall has to accomplish three things in order to be successful.
“Our offensive line has to play well,” Vaughn said. “We have to tackle well and we can not give up the big play.”
Vaughn said the offensive line, which has a couple players coming back after suffering some minor injuries, “has to have a really good game.”
“If we can do those three things, we can be in the ball game,” Vaughn said.
Since 2006, Camden Fairview has won a conference championship every year except in 2008 when the Cardinals won just five games. The Cardinals won their first state championship last season when they finished the year undefeated.
The Cardinals defeated Hot Springs Lakeside 41-3 last week and defeated White Hall 47-8 last season.
Counting the season opener against Monticello at Golden Lion Stadium, the Bulldogs have started the year with four consecutive home games.
“We know we have enough talent to go down there and play with them,” Vaughn said. “Road trip, you don’t know how you are going to handle that. Every senior group is going to handle it different than the other.
“It is going to be a challenge, but it is going to be fun.”