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Although the Orrick Bearcats did clinch a spot in the Class 1 playoffs with their 30-6 win last Friday at Braymer, coach Pat Richard did not like what he saw. Richard said his unbeaten Bearcats did not play well on defense.
“We didn’t tackle very well, we had a lot of missed assignments,’ He said. “We had a lot of mental discipline problems. We jumped offsides about six or seven times and you can’t continue to put people in second and five or first and five, second or one, but we did that. That’ll kill you come playoff time. We’ve just got to get more mental discipline.”
Richard adds that his team has responded well and they have probably had the best week of practice they have had in a while.
“We talked about it being a wake up call and needing to get better,” he said. “We talked about needing to get to the level that it’s going to take to win playoff games.”
The Bearcats’ string of 23 consecutive shutout quarters came to an end when Jesse Clevenger crashed in from the 1-yard line with 53 seconds left in the game.
Friday night, the Bearcats will face a much-improved St. Mary’s Trojan squad that will bring a 6-3 record into Simmons Field. St. Mary’s recovered from a 20-7 loss to Braymer two weeks ago by thumping Wentworth 54-6 last week.
Richard said his defense will have to stop the running tandem of Paul Baker and Henry Hadley who scored four touchdowns apiece against the Dragons. Baker scored on runs of 64, 36, 6 and 11 yards, while Hadley found the end zone following runs of 42, 7, 17 and 35 yards. The Trojan rushing attack was so dominant that they went to the air only three times against the Wentworth defense.
“They have two great running backs,” Richard said. “They’re a shotgun oriented team and they’re going to try and mix it, but I would think it will be more like 75 percent run. With those backs, I would too. Either one of those kids can go to the goal line at any time.”
It will also be the first time the Bearcat defense has faced a full-time shotgun type of attack, although Wellington-Napoleon did run a variation of it a few weeks ago. Richard said his Bearcats have faced some pretty good backs all season and believes that will help his team be ready for Friday.
The Orrick offense will be going against a Trojan defense that will run either a four-man, or a five-man front. The Bearcats have responded well against most of those fronts designed to stop the run all season long. Orrick has averaged over 8 yards a carry through its first nine games, while 47 of the Bearcats’ 48 touchdowns this season have been on the ground.