Cathedral must run to win

Published 12:09 am Friday, September 7, 2007

NATCHEZ — The Salem Wildcats aren’t coming to town happy.

Last year the Cathedral Green Wave clinched a spot in the Class 1A playoffs with a 26-14 win over Salem on the road in Tylertown in a key Region 4-1A game.

Come 7 p.m. at Devereux Stadium, Salem will be looking to avenge that loss when the Wildcats take on the Green Wave. This is a key early Region 4-1A game for both teams.

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Cathedral is coming off a tough 21-13 road loss to Dexter while Salem fell to Pelahatchie on the road 28-23 — the Chiefs’ first win since the 2004 season — which stopped a 21-game losing streak. While one team will go to 1-1 overall and 1-1 region play, the other will drop to 0-2. And with 10 region games, that’s the last place either of these two teams wants to be.

“They always play us tough —them and Dexter,” Cathedral head coach Craig Beesley said. “I know that putting them out of the playoffs last year will give them more incentive.”

Beesley noted that the offensive line needs to do a better job blocking on running plays than it did last week against Dexter. Cathedral finished with a total of 17 yards on the ground. And he hopes quarterback Preston Edwards won’t have to throw the ball 36 times like he did last Friday night.

“I don’t think we can throw it anymore than we did last week,” Beesley said. “If we can commit the linebacker to the run, we can pass the ball some. We’ve put a few new formations in. We’re trying to get everybody back healthy.

Cathedral’s defense also cannot give up the big plays on third and long like it did last week. The Green Wave will also have to cut down on penalties that continued to back them up and stall drives, Beesley said.

Salem runs a spread offense, but instead of throwing the ball like most teams do, the Wildcats use it to confuse the defense into thinking they will go to the air and go to running game instead.

“They like to spread you out defensively and run it up the middle with Shannon Ratcliff,” Beesley said. “We’re going to try to stop him. We’re going to try to get more people around the ball. Use a four-man line and try to get some penetration to the backfield.”

If Ratcliff has success running the ball, it could be a long night for the Green Wave’s defense.