Game: Sonoraville (0-0) at Model (0-1)
Last meeting: Sonoraville 21, Model 14 (Aug. 24, 2018)
All-time series: Sonoraville leads 7-6
On the air: Mountain Coast Network — www.mountaincoastnetwork.com/model-blue-devils.html
With a game under their belt, the Model Blue Devils are looking grow in Week 2.
Standing in their way is a surging Sonoraville team that has some momentum, even for its regular season opener.
The first game of the Jeff Hunnicutt era at Model ended in an 18-16 loss to LaFayette last week, but the first-year head coach said there was plenty to take away from it.
“I never questioned the effort,” Hunnicutt said. “ I questioned our heart at times and the simple fact that we needed something good to happen and for us to respond. But our mistakes are correctable.”
Model’s A.J. Woods rushed for 120 yards on 20 carries and kept the Blue Devils’ offense driving during some pivotal moments, but dropped passes and untimely holding penalties hampered any consistent momentum.
The team’s first touchdown of the season put them up 9-6 early in the fourth quarter against the Ramblers, and Hunnicutt said they understand the need to have their defense keep that lead secure in those moments.
“We had an opportunity to seal things up on the defensive side of the ball, and to me, that’s when you see great defenses rise up,” Hunnicutt said. “If we’re going to win games then we’re going to have to be able to do the little things. Basic fundamentals always come first and we’ve went back to that this week. When we’re tired, those basic fundamentals mean a lot.”
Sonoraville enters Woodard-Tuggle Stadium on Friday to begin the third season under head coach Denver Pate. The Phoenix had a dominant scrimmage over Gordon County rival Gordon Central on Aug. 16, with quarterback Brady Lackey throwing for 252 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.
While Hunnicutt has worked to implement the spread at Model, Sonoraville has been working in it for some time.
“They do a great job. They’re big, even bigger than LaFayette was, but scheme-wise they do some similar things,” Hunnicutt said. “And they do some similar things that we do on offense. But they’ve been doing it longer than our guys have.”
Hunnicutt said it will take some time for Model to make the transition from a single wing to the spread, but he and his staff will be happy as long as there is improvement week to week.
“We’re sticking with our motto of family. We’ve got to be able to play for our brothers and depend on him to do his job,” Hunnicutt said. “Nothing as far as our game plan has changed. We are trying to get some more people involved being that we’re trying to adapt a spread offense and trying to get some guys some rest.”
— Jeremy Stewart