The Smith-Cotton Tigers put on a clinic in last Friday’s 44-7 win over St. Pius X in Kansas City.
The Tiger defense limited the Warriors to 86 total yards, forced three turnovers — all in the secondary — garnered 12 tackles for a loss and didn’t allow any points (the Warriors’ lone score came on a fumble recovery in the second half).
Not to be overshadowed, the offense put up 348 rushing yards, garnered 24 first downs, found the end zone five times and was forced into a three-and-out just twice despite the starters seeing little action in the final 24 minutes.
Andrew Byrd’s 151 rushing yards and two scores on 11 carries set the tone, and Jacob Hayworth added 62 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Junior quarterback Dominique Smith settled into the new multiple-option attack offense with 95 yards on the ground and a 3-for-6, 42-yard effort through the air for a total of three touchdowns. Kendal Brown, Smith’s primary target, capped off the offensive explosion with a 16-yard touchdown catch.
That’s what the Clinton Cardinals have to look forward to tonight in the Tigers’ home opener. The Tigers blanked Clinton last year, 44-0, and the Cardinals have dropped their last six road contests, scoring only 35 points in that stretch.
“Their record or past results doesn’t change (our mindset) at all,” S-C coach Mark Johnson said. “We talked to our kids all week about taking care of ourselves. We’ve got to play better and it doesn’t matter who we’re playing. We need to get better on the offensive line coming off the ball, we need to tackle better, we need to limit the penalties and improve on the mistakes we committed last week.”
Coming off a 38-14 home loss in their season opener against O’Hara, the Cardinals will have a tough task in ending their road woes against the No. 10-ranked Tigers.
With quarterback Trenton Perry at the helm, Clinton amassed only 36 yards in last year’s game against Smith-Cotton. Perry will need to erase memories of getting sacked four times and establish a passing game early on.
The Cardinals’ rushing attack did gain 178 yards in the loss to O’Hara, but the bulk of the yardage came in junk time against O’Hara’s second-team defense.
The Cardinals’ defense has also struggled. It allowed more than 32 points a contest last year and should be no match for Smith-Cotton’s rushing attack.
For added stress, the Cardinals’ secondary will have to contain the Tigers’ 6-foot-7 senior tight end, Kendal Brown, and wideouts Sam Brummett, Evan Schnicker and Travis Tindell. Meanwhile, quarterback Smith’s 4.40 40-yard dash speed and elusiveness should give the Clinton defense fits.
On the other side of the ball, Smith-Cotton’s defense should have no problems containing Clinton. The Tigers’ ability to pressure the quarterback, close up the seams and pounce on routes should create turnovers.
“We made some mistakes last week and some missed assignments led to a few plays that (the Warriors) couldn’t capitalize on,” Johnson said. “Our team starts and ends with our effort on defense, so we need to play mistake-free and just continue to clean up our play.”
IF YOU GO
What: Clinton at Smith-Cotton
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Jennie Jaynes Stadium
Radio: 1490 AM and 92.3 FM