Good Evening Lion Fans, Here we are again to take a closer look at this Saturday’s game between the Lions and the Bison of Harding. It’s a wonderful feeling to still be playing football this time of year, and be one of four Division 2 teams in the country left standing. There is work to be done before reaching the ultimate goal, and a major step in that direction comes this weekend. So, onto the matchup:
Tale of The Tape
Lion Offensive Line Avg. -6’4″ 290 lbs.
Bison Defensive Line Avg.-6’0″ 277 lbs.
Fumbles Lost-7(Tied 44th)
Carandale Hale-(152-738, 4 TD’s)
E.J. Thompson-(63-308, 3 TD’s)
Luis Perez(374-532, 4,388 yds, 42 TD’s) (1st)
Buck Wilson(65-950, 11 TD’s)
Marquis Wimberly(55-708, 5 TD’s)
D’Arthur Cowan (55-664, 8 TD’s)
Vincent Hobbs (52-617, 6 TD’s)
Darrion Landry (41-598, 9 TD’s)
Carandale Hale (56-354)
The Skinny-This is a much more favorable matchup for the Lions this week. The Bison defense, while good enough to get them here, again, have not faced an attack with the speed and athleticism that the Lions posses. The Lion receiving corps has a decided edge in size. Bison defensive backs average a height of 5’10”, while the Lions are over 6 feet. Luis Perez-we know the numbers-leads the country in passing, and has an array of weapons from which to choose. The running game, while not appearing impressive statistically, is very effective, as was seen last week, both balancing the offense, and running out the clock when needed. Carandale Hale has quietly amassed 1,092 combined yards rushing and receiving, providing a valuable safety valve for Perez to go to under pressure. E.J. Thompson has provided a great change of pace to Hale’s speed and quickness with his power(He reminds this writer of an all time Lion great, Cary Noiel)
The Bison are led in tackles by linebacker Sam Blankenship with 123, Rover Christian Witt with 57, and Defensive back Jacory Nichols with 55(Note: for those that may not be familiar with the term, a “Rover” is usually a hybrid DB/Linebacker, usually lining up to the strong side of the offensive formation). They do appear to uses a lot of stunts and blitzes, so the Lion offensive line will have to be sharp.
The Lions Win This Matchup If The same goals are achieved-#1-Keep Perez protected, and with a clean pocket. #2-Run Effectively Balance the offense, and keep the Bison guessing. And, last, but maybe one of the most important-#3-Strike Early, Strike Often. The run dominant Bison offense is not built to play from behind. If the Lions get ahead early, Harding will be forced into a game they do not want to play.
The Final Word-Same song, second verse. The matchup really favors the Lions here. If they don’t turn the ball over, and accomplish the goals of protecting Perez, balancing the run, and strike early and often, they should be in a very good position.