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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Pierce City hits the road to Liberal

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Pierce City Eagles travel to Liberal to face the Bulldogs on Friday night.

Pierce City downed Sarcoxie 36-20 in week one , while Liberal fell 42-6 to Ash Grove.

The Bulldogs are hampered this season with a low number of athletes (23) out for the football team. Recent injuries have driven that number even lower.

Liberal head coach Greg Warlop still has high hopes for his depleted squad.

"We aren't worrying about what other teams are going to try to us on the field," said Warlop. "Our main concern is about what we're doing on the field. We have to focus on becoming better and fix our mistakes. Last week, we failed to execute the fundamentals. This week, we hoped to have fixed the problem."

Liberal's keys to success are to stay in the gaps on defense and find some running room on offense.

The Eagles are looking to open up the offense a little more.

In week one, Pierce City only attempted three passes. Curtis Palmer and Wayne Joe Sooter combined to rush for 300 yards and three touchdowns.

"I was really impressed with Sooter," said Pierce City Head Coach Mac Whitehead. "His on the field vision is great. Wayne Joe has the ability to see the cut back lane before it develops. You can't teach those type of instincts."

In order to fully get its three-headed attack in action, the Eagles need to open up the passing game.

"First and foremost, we are a running team, that is our identity," said Whitehead. "However, we have got to be able to throw the ball when teams load the box. We graduated all of our receivers from last season, so we are looking for some of our guys to step up and make a play.

"I look for us to mix in some play action pass plays," continued Whitehead. "We want to put Cedric (O'Hara) in a position where he has a run-pass option."

The Eagles also want to clean up in areas where they were a little sloppy in last week.

"We had too many penalties last week," said Whitehead. "There is no excuse for off-sides, holding or false starts. Off-sides can be solved by the defense looking at the ball and moving on the snap. Holding is a lazy man's way of trying to make up for being out of position, and there is no reason why there should be a false start, we should already know the snap count."

Outside of cleaning up the fundamentals, little has changed in the Eagles' preparations for this week's contest.

On offense, Pierce City will hit the Bulldogs with the contrasting speed and power styles of Sooter and Palmer and when Liberal fills the box with nine or more players, they will use play action passes to stretch the field.

On defense, the Eagles have put emphasis on making sure tackles.

"Last week against Sarcoxie," said Whitehead, "we would hit the Bears' running back and appear to stop him for a one-or-two yard gain, only to see the back slip the tackle and chew up seven or eight more yards."

Kickoff at Liberal is set for 7 p.m.

Editor's note: Loading the "box" is when the defense places nine or more defenders within five yards of the line of scrimmage in order to put pressure on an opponent's running attack.

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