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|Rebels, Vikings hit field for '48-minute war'|
The West Monroe Rebels will face their toughest test so far this season when they battle the Airline Vikings Friday on their home turf.
That's according to Rebels head coach Don Shows, who said this year's Vikings team is one of the best Airline has put on the field in a number of years.
Both the Rebels and Vikings are 4-0 overall and 1-0 in district play.
"I think they are 8-2 overall since the last time we played them last year, and this is one of the better teams they've had in quite a while. They're young, they play very hard, and they're pretty big," Shows said.
"For us, offensively, it will be a battle. They are a very physical football team and they're hardnosed and tough. This is going to be one of the toughest games we've been in maybe so far this year. I think they have the best defensive team that we'll face all year."
Shows said the Vikings like to run the op tion, and they continue to improve offensively every week.
"Offensively, I don't think they are as good as Captain Shreve, but that defense is probably the best we'll face all year. They're going to be a problem for us on both sides of the ball, especially if we don't have all of our people," Shows said.
Junior quarterback Paul Turner returned Friday against Captain Shreve and put up 86 yards through the air and ran for 31 yards and one touchdown.
"Our quarterback is fine, but we don't know if Chuck Hunter (defensive line) will play Friday because he's got mono and we don't know his status yet," Shows said.
As of press time Wednesday, West Monroe also didn't know if senior defensive lineman Chase Gonzales would play during Friday's match up.
"He probably will play, but probably won't practice. And, we're still missing Dillon Day (offensive line) with a pulled hamstring, and he probably won't play. We're certainly going to miss his size and his aggressiveness because he can basically line up and play with them," Shows said. "We've got six linemen (offensively) and that's it. If Dillon can't play, we'll have to go with the five we've got, and we'll have to shift them around a little bit."
He said the Rebels will have to play20mistake free because the Vikings defense has the capability to take advantage of any errors.
"It's a team that can beat us. There's no question about it," Shows said. "It's going to be a 48-minute war."
Last week against Captain Shreve, the Rebels scored quick and often on several big plays.
By the end of the third quarter, the Rebels racked up 47 points on just 34 plays.
"Last week, offensively, probably execution-wise, was one of the better games we've ever played at West Monroe," Shows said. "What I mean by that is they ran 69 offensive plays to our 34. They had the ball 34 minutes to our 14 minutes. We scored pretty dang fast."
Tyler Cain led the West Monroe rushing attack with 157 yards on three carries. He also tacked on two touchdowns.
"That ain't bad," Shows said of Cain's performance.
"Paul Turner also played extremely well and Teshadi Talton scored two touchdowns. One of those was a 60-yard punt return. I thought it was a good ballgame overall offensively, and to get Turner back was a big plus," Shows said.
During Turner's absence, sophomore quarterback Conner Osborne took over the reigns of the Rebels offense.
"He's done great …. I'm so proud of him," Shows said of Osborne. "He's getting better all the time, and the thing I like about him is he's a competitor. He's going to be a good one before he gets out of here."
One of the bigger concerns this season has been the missed extra points by the Rebels special teams.
"In a big ball game like this one, a missed extra point could be the difference in the game. They've (Airline) got a good kicker, too. We're not going to score a lot of points in this one. We've been averaging 40 points a game and we'll be a long way from our average this Friday. That's for sure," Shows said.
He said this week the kicking game has been an emphasis during practice.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Bossier City. KLIP 105.3 FM will carry the game live on radio beginning with a pre-game show at 6:30 p.m.