One down, four to go for Ferriday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 15, 2000

FERRIDAY, La. – After an impressive 37-12 win over Redeemer-Seton in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs, one might think Ferriday has its sights firmly set on the Superdome, despite coach James McFarland’s promise to take it one game at a time.

But against Friday’s opponent – Christian Life Academy – McFarland said it is remarkably easy to stay focused on the game at hand.

&uot;When you look up and see a team like Christian Life on the horizon, it’s hard to see much else,&uot; he said.

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Christian Life’s record stands at 7-4, but only because the team forfeited three games for playing ineligible players.

&uot;They’re tough,&uot; McFarland said. &uot;They’re balanced. They can run well and they can pass on you.&uot;

The respect seems mutual. &uot;Their defense is definitely impressive,&uot; said Christian Life head coach David Barham of the Trojans. &uot;And they have an offense that can put points up on the board. That combination makes for a pretty dadgum good football team.&uot;

But McFarland thinks the pressure is on Christian Life.

&uot;They’re the rich school. We’re not supposed to beat them,&uot; he said. &uot;They’ve got the better education, better facilities, more money. That’s the point of having an academy, right?&uot;

However, Christian Life’s most dangerous element has nothing to do with money or facilities, but with 4.2 speed.

&uot;Michael Clayton does a little bit of everything,&uot; McFarland said of the Christian Life quarterback, wide out and return man. &uot;We’ve been saying that name all week.&uot;

McFarland said keeping a short leash on Clayton will be the key to winning the game.

&uot;Our main concern will be keeping him contained,&uot; he said. &uot;He runs a 4.2-4.3 40. We don’t have anybody that fast.&uot;

McFarland plans to stay as balanced as possible on offense, but with a 312-yard, four touchdown performance by running back Corey Gordon last week and rain on the forecast, he may be inclined to keep the ball on the ground.

&uot;I don’t like to be one-dimensional, unless they’re not stopping it,&uot; McFarland said. &uot;But to win consistently, I think you need to be balanced.&uot;

Despite having to travel to Baton Rouge, McFarland doesn’t think playing on the road will faze the Trojans.

&uot;We’re trying to live. Where the game is played won’t have any bearing,&uot; he said. &uot;If we get through, we end up in New Orleans. We’re not at home then, either.&uot;