Something’s gotta give

Published 8:44 pm Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ashton Paquin attempts to break free from a tackle during practice Wednesday afternoon. (Photo/Ryan McCollough)

Ashton Paquin attempts to break free from a tackle during practice Wednesday afternoon. (Photo/Ryan McCollough)

Struggling Zion Chapel preps for winless, athletic Central-Hayneville Lions

As bad as things have gone for the Zion Chapel Rebels this season, things have been worse for Central-Hayneville.

While both teams are 0-5 in 2013, Zion Chapel players can remember the last time they won.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Central can’t.

The Lions are winless in their last 58 trips to the gridiron entering Friday night’s showdown with the Rebels in Jack, a streak that dates back to Oct. 12, 2007.

Zion Chapel, fresh off a 41-7 loss to arch rival Kinston, has went back to the basics this week.

“We feel that if we can play four full quarters of solid, mistake-free football, then we have a really good chance to win the ball game,” said Bradley Bowers, Zion Chapel head coach. “We told the guys yesterday that we can’t turn the lights on, put on our gear and tee it up, and get a guaranteed win. We are both winless in 2013.”

While Central-Hayneville has struggled for the past six seasons, every coach in the area says the Lions are one of the most athletic teams in the state.

Central is averaging over 16 points a game on offense, but is giving up over 42 a game on defense.

The Rebels have score just 27 points all season, and have given up an average of 51.

With the “freakish” athleticism of the Lions, Bowers and staff have stressed the importance of gang tackling this week.

“If you don’t wrap these guys up and get them to the ground, they can break loose in a hurry,” said Bowers. “We have reminded the kids that if they are the fist person to the ball, they have to grab cloth, wrap up and hold on. The rest of the defense has to swarm to the football to make sure the tackle is made at the point of contact.”

Bowers, in his first year as a head coach, has yet to taste the sweetness of victory as a head coach.

He says a win would be great to him personally, but he wants it more for his players.

“My career hasn’t started the way I hoped in would,” Bowers said with a sly grin. “A win would be awesome for me, but these kids deserve something good to happen. They come out everyday and put in the work. We will strap up Friday night and do our best.”

Zion knocked off Central last season 50-12 in Hayneville.

The second-ever meeting between the Rebels and Lions is set for 7 P.m. kickoff Friday at Green Memorial Stadium in Jack.