Sep 13, 2018
The Bears return to the gridiron to open MACJC South Division play on Thursday, and hit the road for the first time this sea-son, when they face the East Central Warriors in Decatur.
Both teams enter the game with a 1-1 mark. The Bears dropped a 51-6 home decision to 5th-ranked Northwest in week two while the Warriors held on for a 34-28 win on the road at Itawamba.
First-year head coach Tim Stowers said the Bears will "have to improve a lot in a lot of areas" in order to beat the Warriors. "We didn't play well last week, but I think Northwest had a lot to do with that. We're a rebuilding football program, but we can't be satisfied with that."
Stowers said "we have seen how our team responds at home, but we don't know how (the team) will respond on the road. I told the players that what we want to do is get a little bit better each week."
Going into this week's game, Stowers said people should not expect many differences in the Bears' offense. "We'll basical-ly do the same thing we've always done," he said. "We'll just try to get better at basic fundamental plays. We're not at the point where we can really put in a lot of new plays."
Limiting turnovers will be one of the big keys to a win for the Bears over the Warriors, Stowers said. But, also, he said "one of the big things is 'will the same team that gets on the bus be the same team that gets off the bus?' I've seen a lot of good football teams get on the bus and drive (hours) to a game and they get off the bus and, for whatever reason, it wasn't the same team that got on it."
Bears' defensive coordinator Kelby Bowman said he looks for the Warriors "to be very multiple" in their offense. "They have a very expanded playbook and they have a good play caller. I expect them to be very disciplined (and) to give us a lot of different looks. I expect them to try to establish a run game as well as a passing game."
The Warriors have scored 58 total points in their first two games. Asked what it will take to contain the Warriors, Bowman said he did not think "you can contain (a team). If they have good athletes, they're going to make plays. I think we just have to be disciplined ourselves and make sure we're doing what we need to do on defense."
"It's all about us executing plays," Bowman said. "If they execute, they'll have success, but on the other hand, if we execute we'll have success."
Bowman also said the Bears' defense "can expect some things we probably haven't seen before, but that's to be expected in all football games when you're playing an opponent like East Central."
"They're kind of known for multiple formations and multiple looks," Bowman said of the Warriors. "But, we've just got to exe-cute. We can't have any self-inflicted mistakes and we've just got to play hard from start to finish."
The game is set for a 6:30 kickoff in Bailey Stadium. It can be heard on WAKH 105.7FM (k106), k106.net and on the k106 app. The game will also be live-streamed at www.eccc.edu/eccc-media.