Patriots to host Canton in pivotal B-3 matchup

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Gabe Ross runs for a first down in the Pariots’ 52-28 win over Okeene Friday night. (Photo by Brinlee Zumwalt)

By Chuck Reherman
Sports Editor
Taking another step forward.
After earning their first district B-3 win last week, Southwest Covenant takes aim on a second Friday night as the Patriots host Canton in a pivotal 7 p.m. kickoff at Patriot Field.

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The Patriots, 3-3 overall, are 1-1 in the district and a win Friday night would keep them in the hunt for one of the four playoff sports. For Canton, 3-4 and 0-2 in district, the win is crucial for the Tigers. A third loss, with only two games to follow, would basically put the Tigers out of the playoffs.
SWCS snapped a two-game losing skid with a 52-28 win over Okeene last week. Canton lost 36-0 to Covington-Douglas, who also owns a win over the Patriots and remains tied for the B-3 lead.
The Tigers have the ability to put points on the board, averaging 21 a game despite being shutout in their last two outings.
“We did a five-on-five with them this summer, it wasn’t like we have seen each other in real play, but it was good to see them,” Patriot head coach Johnson Jensen said. “As far as the actual game goes, we have to stop Hudson Scott, he is the guy they want to get the ball to. The hand it to him on sweeps, throw it to him, they run a lot of one-man routes and he is the one, everyone stays in and blocks.

Trace Brunk leaps up to make a catch as an Okeene defender trails in the Patriots’ 52-28 win. (Photo by Brinlee Zumwalt)

“The quarterback, Luke Swartwood, runs the ball well and he seems to try and bait the defense to rush upfield to he can take off and run. It’s almost like a designed option and we have to spy him. They will also run a quarterback power with him.
“They have had a tough start to the district, but playing Covington and Seiling back-to-back is a pretty tough task. Their coach said they are beaten up a little but, be we will see when the come in Friday night.”
The Tigers also have Brandon Day and Connor Cox in the backfield.
Defensively, the Tigers play a multiple look front, at times putting six players in the box and pressuring the offense.
“Canton is a heavy run team, they either give it to Scott or the quarterback keeps it,” Jensen said. “They do have a fullback dive, but that looks more it is something they run to give the other two a break, those two guys are their offense.
“The defense is an enigma,” he said. “They are based out at 3-2 and in some instances get into a four man front,” he said. “Against Covington, they were in a two front and blitzed three linebackers nearly every play. Our offense is going to have to practice against multiple fronts and as coaches we will have to make sure that we keep it simple enough that we can adjust to the multiple fronts.
“We will have to have a few line calls that is in line with what we see, but, also simple enough that we make those calls on the fly. I’m pretty confident our offensive line will be able to do that.
“We match up extremely well and it will be to our advantage to get our passing game going this week. They play a lot of man coverage, built their defense is built to stop the run. A lot of communication up front will be a key for us.”
The Patriot offense is starting to come along behind quarterback Asher Hoover. The Patriots had 390 yards of offense last week, 261 rushing and Jensen sees his team needing to add more of a passing attack this week.
“Every game in our district is going to be interesting and this one is not going to be any different,” Jensen said. “But, that makes it fun to prepare for and then go out and play. Everyone has their own little wrinkles.”

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