Cathedral faces tough test in defending champion

Published 12:02 am Thursday, September 30, 2010

NATCHEZ — Beating Mount Olive High School is not something Cathedral usually does.

In fact, according to Green Wave head coach Ron Rushing, Cathedral may be going for its second win against the Pirates all-time.

“I think we’ve actually only beaten Mount Olive once. That’s what someone told me today,” Rushing said.

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And the Green Wave (4-1, 1-0) are looking to pull the upset when they travel to the defending 1A state champions’ home turf Friday for a 7 p.m. game.

“They’re a very athletic team. All of them run well, and they’re going to be bigger and faster than us. We’re going to have to play extremely well on both sides of the ball,” Rushing said.

When looking at Mount Olive’s offense, there’s one player that sticks out to Rushing.

“They have a running back named (Rueben) Duckworth who’s a big strong kid with some speed. He’ll either do a move and go around you, or he’ll run over you. He had a couple of hundred yards at our place last year.”

Tackling will be a big key for the Green Wave Friday night if they hope to contain Duckworth and the rest of the Pirates’ offense, he said.

“We’re going to have to tackle him well and make some tackles in open space. They kind of run a spread, so he can also get back there and throw it 60 yards. It’s very hard to defend,” Rushing said.

In order to do that, Rushing said his players would have to flow the ball so it’s not one player trying to make the tackle by himself.

“We try to break down to them about being in a good position and taking good angles,” Rushing said.

“The biggest thing is for everyone to run to the football. We have to work as a unit to tackle that guy. If we get one-on-one, we’ll be in trouble. We have to have the guys get after it and gang tackle.”

With it being Cathedral’s second district game, Rushing said beating Sebastopol 28-7 last week was huge in terms of momentum.

“We got off to a 1-0 start, so that definitely helped, but Mt. Olive is one of the best Single A programs in the state year in and year out. It will be a good way to measure where we’re at as a team,” he said.

But despite the looming giant in the distance, Rushing said he was confident that his team would be ready to play.

“I think we’ll be prepared. We just have to play disciplined. We can’t have silly penalties, we have to hold onto the ball and we have to have a complete game for four quarters,” Rushing said.

Offensively, Rushing said the Green Wave athletes would have to take what’s given to them.

“We’re going to have to throw the ball and make catches. We can’t afford to have any dropped passes,” Rushing said.

“If we run the ball, they’re so fast, we’re just going to have to run it straight at them.”