By Chuck Reherman, Sports Editor – Southwest Covenant returns home and will put their unbeaten record on the line against a team that has started to turn into a rival.
The Patriots will host Coyle in a 7 p.m. kickoff at Patriot Field.
The teams have played each other for the past few years with Coyle winning the early meetings. SWCS is 1-3 against the Bluejackets, snapping a three-game losing skid last year with a 50-40 win. Coyle won in the 2015 50-0 at SWCS.
Coyle enters the game with a 1-0 record opening with a 44-30 win over Pioneer-Pleasant Vale. The Patriots are 2-0 after posting a 53-18 win at Central Marlow.
The contest will put a power running team in Coyle against an SWCS team that is balanced. The Patriots ran 39 plays last week, 20 running and 19 passing.
“They are big, I don’t know where they got them, but they have some big kids,” Patriot head coach Trey Cloud said. “They are fast also, they will be the best team we have played so far. It will definitely be a test for us. They beat Pioneer, who is a top 10 class B team.
“They are a good team, they like to run the ball a lot,” he said. “They will throw it a little bit, but they prefer to run the ball. The tailback is a big kid, but he also has some speed and they have another that comes in for him that is small and very, very quick.
“They lost like six starters from last year, but it doesn’t look like they ha missed a beat,” he said. “We do have a small advantage because we have two games under our belt and they have one, regardless, we will have to go out and play well Friday night. We have two under our belt and the third is you feel like you are getting your rhythm down.”
The Patriots, after running the ball the majority of the time in the opener, then throwing more last week, will give Coyle the dilemma of having to prepare for both the run and the pass.
And, the Coyle defense is less experienced than the offense. But, despite the number of players lost to graduation, Coyle head coach Shane Weathers feels good about his team.
“It’s time for some of our younger players to step up in key positions,” Weathers said. “Our defense will have good linebacker play this season.”
Brendon Weathers, who will start at quarterback, will also slide over and play linebacker. He, Robert Taylor and Wyatt Powers make up the linebacker corps in the 3-3 defensive look.
Senior Josh Faulkner (6-0, 250) will anchor the defensive front.
Weathers and Chris Carnell have split time at quarterback. Weathers will move to tight end when not under center. Taylor is the go-to guy in the offense at tailback, but the ‘Jackets will bring in Austin Adams, who at 5-8, 140, is a quicker, more scat back type runningback.
“Coyle runs a lot of sweeps and will run some option, but they like to run it right at you,” Cloud said. “We have to work on containing them with our defense. We can’t let them get to the outside with their speed.
“I thought we threw the ball a lot more than we ran it last week, but it was about the same amount of plays,” he said. “We ran it 20 times and threw it 19. We want to continue to be a balanced team this week.”
Patriot quarterback Sam Webb has led the team to their two consecutive 50-point scoring wins. Webb has passed for 390 yards in two games and thrown 11 touchdowns. He has also run for a pair of scores.
Trevor Kelly and Nathan Hagan have led the running game and have both caught touchdown passes along with Bryce Brown. Cole Shaw caught eight passes last week for 198 yards and five touchdowns.
The Patriots did get Ben Webb back and Cloud expects him to step in and help the defense.
“We have everyone back out healthy and Ben is our best tackler, so he will make our defense better,” Cloud said. “We know we have a tough game ahead of us, but we know if we go out and do the things we are capable of, we can win this game.”