Clawing forward to Friday

Published 11:59 pm Tuesday, September 18, 2007

CENTREVILLE — Coming off a big 36-6 win against Central Private School, the coaching staff for Centreville Academy won’t let it get to their players’ heads as they travel to Columbia to face Columbia Academy Friday at 7 p.m.

“The kids worked hard Friday night,” Centreville assistant coach Brian Stutzman said. “Columbia’s a big, physical team. The last two times we’ve played at Columbia, we’ve gotten beat.”

Centreville is ranked No. 5 in the Clarion-Ledger’s Class AA poll and has a 3-1 overall record, Columbia Academy is currently 0-4 after getting hammered by the Copiah Academy Colonels 42-0.

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But as Stutzman noted, the Cougars have been beset by a number of key injuries to key players, including a couple on offense.”

And while Columbia Academy may have a couple of players back for Friday night’s game, the Cougars will face a Centreville offense that does a good job with its balance of running and passing the ball.

Nick Goudeau had 68 yards rushing against Central Private last Friday night, but he also had 87 yards receiving on just three receptions. Sophomore running back Zach Sinclair had also had an standout performance for the Tigers with 115 yards rushing and three touchdowns, two catches for 25 yards and he had one interception on defense.

“It wasn’t a surprise. He (Goudeau) might have the best hand on the team,” Stutzman said. “We use him as a wide receiver and as a running back. Most of (his catches) were from wide receiver. We use Zach to keep the load off of Nick. With everyone keying on Nick, we use Zach to keep the pressure off him.”

The Cougars run a split-4 defense and a spread offense with an old wing-T look, Stutzman said.

“They’ve got a good quarterback. They like to let him run around and run or throw. He’s a playmaker,” he said. “They’ll line up in the power-I. They’ve got two lineman blocking in the backfield for their tailback. Defensively, they’re big and physical. Our kids are going to have to stay low (on their blocks).”

Last week, Centreville’s defense forced five turnovers and did a good job converting most of those turnovers into points for the offense. Stutzman said he would like to see that continue.

“We’re going to stay in the 4-3. We’ve been using that all year,” he said. “We’ve worked yard all year on our secondary. The last year or two there were loose balls and we weren’t able to fall on them. This year we’ve been blessed. We’ve been getting to the loose ball and forcing turnovers. That’s the name of the game right there.”