TEXARKANA — The Liberty-Eylau Leopards are gearing up for the consequential part of their schedule with a Friday night encounter with the Paris Wildcats.
The Leopards posted a 1-4 mark in their non-district part of the schedule. Now, the games that matter are about to be played, according to head coach Steve Wells, when they face Paris (3-2).
“This is the real season right here,” Wells said on the weekly “Coaches Show” Tuesday. “You determine your success the next five weeks. Nobody’s going to remember what’s happened in September if you’re winning late. So, that’s the one thing that I think our kids understand that now it’s for real. This game is for real and really important as each and every one of our district games is.”
The Leopards’ performance in the 4A Region II District 7 schedule could determine the difference between being a No. 1 seed and a No. 4 seed in the first round of the playoffs. Presently, however, Coach Wells is hoping the tough non-district schedule his Leopards played doesn’t shrink their confidence.
“There’s good and bad with having that tough schedule,” Wells explained. “Sometimes you lose a little confidence and hopefully we haven’t lost confidence that we can go play with the best. We’ve shown that we can. So, that’s what we’re preaching to the kids. Hey, what’s gone on the last five weeks is behind us. It’s next play, next game. Like I said, I guess we’ll see how that tough schedule was for us with district coming up.”
The Wildcats’ bread and butter is the run
Senior running back Donovan Williams and reserve tailback James Neal comprise a formidable ground game that is balanced with stellar play from junior quarterback Kobe Savage and protected by ferocious, bulked up offensive line.
“The offensive line is pretty athletic and pretty big up front and run a lot of counter-trap scheme, counter-A scheme, what I call it,” said Wells, “run a lot of counter-G scheme and some jet sweep. They can hang their hat on the run. They throw it well enough where you do have to honor it.”
Tackles Elijah Ellis and Ashton Savage round the outside of the offensive line and stand at 6-7 and 6-8 respectively, according to MaxPreps, with a combined 650 pounds between the two of them.
Said Wells: “Great on the down block, probably not as good pass-blocking wise, but he is good run-blocking wise. So, we’re going to have to do good job defensively lined up hitting them at the line of scrimmage and not letting them get started.”
Bob DelGiorno will have the latest from Paris on the Kubota Scoreboard Show Friday night immediately following the Arkansas High-Sheridan game on Fox Sports Radio 1400 and the Freed AM Sports app.