The Cardinals on Friday will host a Creekview team still smarting from a narrow loss to Kell.
Osborne coach Xarvia Smith feels that his team will be playing one of Region 7AAAAA’s top programs in the crossover game.
“In my mind, we are going to be playing against one of the top two teams in the region Friday,” said the second-year coach. “They are just such a good team. We are going to have our hands full, that’s for sure.”
Osborne (1-3) will be facing a different looking Creekview side than usual, however, as two of the Grizzlies’ leading receivers will not play.
Brandon Wright ruptured his Achilles last Friday and will likely miss the rest of the season, and Hunter Udall is being held out due to illness.
Because of the injuries, Creekview coach Al Morrell said he expects his offense will be forced to favor the run against Osborne.
“We always do our best to be a balanced team, but you’ll be seeing more rushing from us than usual on Friday,” Morrell said. “It’s not that we don’t have any playmakers out wide without Brandon or Hunter, but establishing the run is going to be a bit more important for us.”
Osborne, likewise, has struggled to establish a passing game throughout the season and has been forced to rely on its rushing attack.
“I would say that we have dropped nine touchdown passes so far this season,” Smith said. “We’ve been practicing throwing the ball for four weeks, but we haven’t had any success yet. Still, we have to keep trying.”
With both teams hampered in the air and seemingly set on running the ball Friday, Smith expects the game’s result to depend upon which team can impose its will upon the other.
“I don’t doubt that this game will be won by whichever team is more physical,” he said. “It is going to be tough on us because they are one of the most physical teams that we will face all year. That’s why we are going to have to match their intensity. Because, if we don’t, there is no way that we can win this game. The team that flinches first will lose.”
For Morrell, the key to victory for Creekview (2-1) will be to limit turnovers and prevent Osborne from springing big plays.
“Last week, Kell had three big plays, and they all went for touchdowns,” Morrell said. “One of those touchdowns came off of an interception. We also threw two more interceptions besides that one, and though they didn’t score off of them, it really hurt us.
“If we want to win this game, we can’t afford to beat ourselves by giving them the ball or letting them make plays down the field.”