Friday Preview: Bulldogs hope extra week of preparation will pay off

Sep. 18, 2013 @ 10:33 AM

A well-rested Thomasville Bulldogs squad will return to action Friday night.
After losing to High Point Central 40-13 in Week 3, the Bulldogs had two weeks to prepare for a difficult showdown with another perennial 4-A powerhouse. This week, Thomasville hits the road for a meeting with Davie. The War Eagles (1-3) have had their share of difficulties with a tough schedule so far this season, losing three of their first four.
Last week's loss at North Rowan — a fellow Central Carolina Conference team Thomasville (1-2) will face later this season — has Davie desperate for a win. Recent history shows this is not a recipe for success for the Bulldogs, as they have dropped three of the last four against the War Eagles despite leading the all-time series 12-4.
The extra week of preparation should do the Bulldogs' offense some good after it was rendered largely ineffective three weeks in a row. Thomasville's greatest source of trouble has come from the running game. Despite developing a reputation as one of the area's fiercest rushing attacks for the last several years, tailback Demoris Payne and company have found it tough sledding behind an offensive line that is asked to do a lot.
Instead of having one workhorse running back to carry the load, like Gabe Brockett did last year and Shaquan Johnson before that, the team is relying on a number of players to complement each other. The emphasis on speed and splitting carries is something offensive coordinator Dickie Cline has rarely implemented in the past.
Ike Marsh continues to hit the occasional big play to keep defenses on their toes. Appearing all over the field, he was instrumental in Thomasville's only win this season when he touched the ball 10 times on the final series against Mount Airy. If the team wishes to add another memorable chapter to the 2013 season, the defense must provide more resistance than it did in losses to North Davidson and Central.
Having surrendered 74 points in the two defeats, a major complication has been overuse. Players who are expected to contribute on both sides of the ball are on the field perpetually, especially on defense.
If sophomore quarterback Jalen Jenkins can move the chains in the passing game, it will not only free up Marsh and Payne this week, but also keeps the players responsible for stopping the opposing offense off the field.

Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3575, or kennedy@tvilletimes.com.