Friday Preview: Thomasville to host powerhouse Fort Chiswell
As if competing against the state's best was not enough, the Thomasville Bulldogs on Friday will face a premier opponent from 100 miles away.
Undefeated Fort Chiswell High School from Max Meadows, Va. will make the trek down Interstate 81 across the border to Cushwa Stadium. Through four games this season, the Pioneers have averaged 45 points per contest.
"They're a big, strong, physical football team," said assistant coach Dickie Cline. "It's another big test for us before we begin conference play."
Cline's concerns begin on the offensive side of the ball, where the Bulldogs are struggling to move the football. In last week's 10-7 overtime loss to Randleman, an ineffective running game could muster no more than a single touchdown. The defense was solid, but was once again expected to do too much.
"We've got to start blocking better," Cline said. "We're not blocking well, so if we can improve on that, we have an opportunity to change the balance of field position. Between us not being able to move the ball consistently and the kicking game, we're losing the field position battle.
"Our defense played a lot better last week. We had an opportunity to win the game and just didn't get it done."
Execution will not be any easier Friday against a team that has not given up more than 13 points. Cline was unwavering when asked whether it would be difficult to keep players focused on the task at hand, rather than looking ahead to the clean slate represented by their first Central Carolina 2-A game in two weeks.
"I think with the emphasis of trying to get better each day, really it's not about our opponent. It's about us," said Cline. "As the saying goes, the enemy is us. We've got to get things going on our side and not put so much into what everyone else is doing."
The approach worked on defense against Randleman. The Tigers came into the tilt averaging more than 40 points per game and barely escaped with a victory. Could the same happen with Fort Chiswell?
"We're disappointed we didn't come out on top," he said. "We felt like if we would have taken care of the things we were supposed to do, we could have came out on top."
Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3575, or firstname.lastname@example.org.