No. 1 vs. No. 2 today

Published 12:01 am Friday, October 14, 2011

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Cathedral’s Caleb Upton avoids the rush of Mt. Olive’s Subar Langston during their game Oct. 7 at Cathedral. Cathedral won 35-7.

NATCHEZ — It may be another region game for Cathedral High School, but tonight’s matchup against Bogue Chitto High School has statewide implications.

Cathedral is ranked by The Clarion-Ledger as the No. 1 team in Class 1A heading into Friday’s road game at Bogue Chitto. The Bobcats’ ranking? No. 2.

“They’re a very good football team,” head coach Ron Rushing said. “They run the ball extremely well. They do a lot of Double Wing stuff with two split ends — a lot of traps, counters, sweeps — and do a really good job pulling and trapping.”

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Rushing insists, though, that he and his team aren’t paying attention to the rankings heading into the game.

“They know that (Bogue Chitto’s) a good football team,” Rushing said. “They’re always a physical football team, but we talk about taking it one week at a time.

“This is another (conference) ball game, and we’re taking it like that. We’re not getting into the polls and everything, because the only poll that matters is the last one.”

When defending the Double Wing offense, Rushing said the challenge is making sure his players key in on whoever has the ball for Bogue Chitto.

“A lot of it is just misdirection,” Rushing said. “You get your eyes on the backfield and you start seeing them hand the ball and spin everywhere, so it’s hard to find the ball.

“We’ve been working all week not getting our eyes in the backfield but keying their guards that are pulling and cross-keying their wingbacks and stuff like that.”

Although it’s a road game against a really good team, Rushing said he feels like his players are mature enough to handle the away-game atmosphere tonight.

“This is a pretty veteran team,” Rushing said. “They’re used to traveling, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we had more fans than they did.

“I know they’ll have a big crowd, but we have a lot of people taking about coming and watching the game, and when our kids look on the sideline and see a big crowd over there, that helps out. Sometimes it’s tough, but I don’t expect this team to really have any major problems.”

After a bit of a mid-season lull, Rushing said he started ramping up the intensity of Monday and Tuesday practices.

“We’re still trying to improve every week,” Rushing said. “We went back to Mondays and Tuesdays and having a lot of contact, trying to get physical. Basically, two weeks ago we just changed up how we were doing things in practice and expecting a little more out of them early in the week.”

Kickoff at Bogue Chitto is at 7 tonight.