Classic trap for HHS?
HUNTINGTON — It’s a very different week of preparation for the Huntington High football team.
Last week the Highlanders were getting ready for cross-county rival Cabell Midland and the “Battle for the Shield.” Huntington High was seeking redemption after two straight losses to the Knights by one point. The team was getting prepared for a game that put its Class AAA No. 1 rating on the line against the No. 2 team in the state. The Highlanders came out on top, 19-7.
This week, Huntington High (4-0) is getting ready to travel to winless Ripley (0-4) for a game Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
In a way, it’s a more difficult game to prepare for, Highlanders coach Billy Seals said, because it comes after one of the biggest games of the year and a week before a showdown with Capital, which has been impressive so far in 2013.
“It’s difficult for our kids, and difficult for our coaches to get focused back on the task at hand,” Seals said. “Friday night was a big win, but we’ve been preaching to our kids Friday night is overwith.
“We have to get prepared to go up and play a team that is not going to lay down for us. (Ripley) coach (David) Tennant is not going to allow that team to lay down. They’re going to play good football.”
Ripley opened the season with a competitive loss to Parkersburg South, 47-35. But overall, Ripley has been outscored 234-76 in the first four games of the season.
Vikings opponents are averaging 58.5 points per game while Ripley is averaging 19.
Last week, Spring Valley took out some frustration on the Vikings, beating Ripley on its home field, 75-14.
Regardless, Seals sees a team that is big and physical up front with a competent quarterback running the zone read option and a few big, rangy receivers on the outside.
It’s an opponent the Highlanders can’t just show up and expect to beat, Seals said.
“They’re going to play their guts out and we’re going to have to play good football to get out of there with a win,” he said. “They’re going through some growing pains with a new staff and new philosophy, but they’re a good team and that’s a tough place to play. The last time we played there, we got our butts handed to us, 49-21.”
Seals said he’s trying to keep the focus on what Huntington High can do to improve.
“You’re only as good as your last game,” Seals said. “I expect our kids to be able to handle success and continue to focus on getting better as a football team each week. There are some things we need to fix, and that’s why you practice.”
One of those focal areas is the defense.
While the Highlanders have been smothering on the defensive side of the ball, giving up only three touchdowns in four games, including one to Cabell Midland, Seals said he thinks the defense didn’t have one of its better games last week against the Knights.
The Highlanders gave up big yards to Midland, as most teams have all season, but were able to generate four turnovers to keep the Knights off the scoreboard.
“Going back and looking at the film, I didn’t think we played very well on defense and we have to go back and fix some things,” Seals said. “Offensively, we have to work on maintaining our blocks. Special teams, I think we had some problems, more with low kicks than the line, but (kicker) Zach Stevens was able to fix that as the game went along.
Everybody’s got something to be working on.”
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