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- George Becnel
- September 14, 2016 - 10:01pm
It’s clear who has garnered the attention of the Riverside Academy coaching staff going into the Rebels’ clash against River Parish foe Hahnville on Friday night in reserve.
“It’s no secret what they want to do. They want to get the ball in the hands of Anthony Williams,” Riverside coach Bill Stubbs said.
Knowing Williams will get the ball and keeping him from doing anything with it can be two different things.
“A lot of times you talk about people who have the ability to score from wherever and things like that. It’s never more accurate than this. He’s really fast and explosive. No angle is good enough. You see people take the angle to try and negate the speed difference but he outruns those angles. He does a pretty good job of setting up his blocks. He’s a patient guy and when he hits it, he means business,” Riverside defensive coordinator Chris Lachney said of Williams.
Riverside (1-1) won last year’s low-scoring encounter 10-7. The Rebels were without their top two signal callers and used receiver Herb McGee at quarterback.
“Although Herb brought so many strengths to what we were trying to do we weren’t able to run our offense, so to speak. It was a very small package,” Stubbs said.
The Rebels’ playbook should be wide open with the return to health of junior quarterback Jordan Loving.
“With a legitimate quarterback, we are able to spread the ball around. They are looking at film just like we are looking at film and they see our offense and what we do. We are not in the business to out-fancy anybody. We know what we have to do; it’s just more about execution,” said Stubbs.
“He can run the full scope of the offense. He can make every throw so it’s comforting knowing you have a true field general out there,” Riverside offensive coordinator Shane Bohrer said of having Loving at quarterback.
Also expected back for the Rebels is Jared Butler. Butler plays both receiver and quarterback for Riverside. He is slated to see limited action for the first time after recovering from knee issues dating back to basketball season.
Hahnville (2-0) also features the return of a quarterback. Austin Perrin skipped the 2015 season to concentrate on baseball but is back playing football for his senior year.
With Hahnville having won its first two games rather handily, coupled with the fact one game featured a wet turf and the other a muddy natural surface, the Tigers may not have had the opportunity to truly show how they might utilize Perrin, according to Lachney.
“They really haven’t had a chance to show what they really want to with the kid. They made a big deal about him coming back, and I’m glad he did for them, but if given the choice between letting his arm beat you are letting Anthony Williams beat you, we are going to make (Perrin) beat us,” Lachney said.
Along with Williams, another top runner for Hahnville is Devonte Clark. Clark is coming off a 154-yard effort in the Tigers’ 30-0 win last week against Patterson.
“If he wasn’t back there, it would make our life a whole lot easier as a guy trying to devise something. It’s not like he can’t go the distance. He’s certainly not Williams but he’s not somebody you can ignore. He’d be the running back on a lot of teams,” Lachney said.
The deep Hahnville backfield also includes Cade Miguez.
“If you are going to run the type of offense they run, you can’t have a bad fullback. He’s a good kid who’s actually athletic enough to actually make some plays in space. That makes personnelling [sic] those guys kind of difficult because they do leave him in there in some spread formations and he’s able to get out there and do some things. It’s not like you can say, ‘the fullback’s in the game, let’s load the box,’” said Lachney.
An explosive runner, Williams also is Hahnville’s biggest threat as a receiver.
“They have a couple of good guys, and Anthony Williams is the best one,” Lachney said. “They don’t leave him in one spot but usually wherever he is, the football is not very far away.”
Other receivers include Michael Gray and Jamel Byrd.
“They have an ultra-talented kid surrounded by really good ones. That’s dangerous. That’s a good recipe for success for them and headaches for opponents,” said Lachney.
The Tigers feature a different style on defense from a year ago, according to Bohrer.
“Last year, they were pretty much strictly in a four-man front. This year they are into a 3-4 defense and kind of an old-school 50 defense. They like to walk their linebackers up and bring them off the edges,” said Bohrer.
At middle linebacker is Travon Honor.
“He played last year as a down lineman but this year he is at (middle) linebacker and looks comfortable there,” Bohrer said. “He’s the leader of the defense. He comes downhill. He takes on blocks well and he uses his hands well. He will be a challenge for our linemen to sort of work to the second level and get a hand on him.”
A key player up front for Hahnville is Cameron Cabral.
“He comes off the ball real well. He uses his hands and gets good extension. He’s their best pass rusher. He has a couple of tricks up his sleeve. He likes to come up field and has a good spin move. He will bull rush and speed on the outside,” Bohrer said of Cabral.
At top returnee in the secondary is Hunter LeBlanc.
“He played last year in that 4-3 or 4-4 look as an outside strong safety type but now he’s back in center field so he has a ton of experience,” Bohrer said.
For all the big names for both teams, it’s the guys in the trenches who likely will determine the outcome of Friday’s game, according to Bohrer.
“It will come down the same thing whenever we play these big boys, we have to be as physical as we can up front and win that battle at the line of scrimmage,” Bohrer said.