Two teams headed in different directions meet Friday night as Bethel-Tate visits East Clinton to begin SBAAC National Division play.
Kickoff for the Week 6 football contest is set for 7 p.m. in Lees Creek.
East Clinton has played Bethel-Tate the last five years as a member of the SBAAC National Division. The Tigers have won all five meetings. The last East Clinton win in the series came in 2011, a 53-0 triumph for the Astros.
This year, East Clinton has lost four straight after opening the season with a 34-14 win over Dayton Christian. And while head coach Steve Olds believes the non-league slate has been a good one, he isn’t using it as an excuse to be 1-4.
“Our non league schedule has been tough and we do feel like it has helped prepare us for league play,” he said. “But we still have to go out and execute better on offense, defense, and special teams if we want to have success in the second half of the season.
“We still feel like we haven’t put together a full football game yet, in all three phases. And although the last few weeks have been hard, it is nice to start league play and feel like you can still accomplish some of your goals. It’s like the start of a second season, a chance to erase the first five games and start over new.”
The Tigers are on the opposite end of the spectrum. Bethel-Tate lost three in a row to begin the year but has defeated Ponitz 48-15 and Batavia 49-7 the last two weeks.
“Bethel Tate looks a lot like the team that we have grown accustomed to seeing,” Olds said of the defending National Division champions. “They like to spread you out and throw the ball. The (uarterback) is a good player and still improving, and they can run the ball effectively as well. On defense they are aggressive and will take chances. They overwhelmed us upfront last year so we have to try and do a better job dealing with the pressure they create.”
In a 41-7 loss to Minford last week, Olds said his team moved the ball well but needed to do a better job of finishing drives and putting more points on the board. On defense, Olds said coach (Bryan) Floyd “did a good job of getting guys in to position to make a play, but Minford always seemed to make a better one.”