Rebels look to end first half on high note

Published 3:00 am Friday, September 25, 2015

The Zion Chapel Rebels are looking to rebound as they travel to Kinston today to face the 1-3 Bulldogs.

The Rebels (1-3 on the season) are coming off a loss in a back-and-forth game against Highland Home. The Bulldogs are coming off a 14-2 win over Pleasant Home, a team that beat the Rebels earlier this year in a jamboree.

“I feel like we match up pretty well with Kinston,” said Rebels head coach Bradley Bowers.

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Bowers said he expects some of the matchups to be similar to what the Rebels saw last week with Highland Home “From a defensive look, we are expecting the same look we saw last week,” he said. “They are a little bigger up front than Highland Home was, so we are going to have to make some tweaks in our game plan a little bit.”

Those tweaks will include depending even more on a run game that has been averaging over 100 yards per game. “It may take a while,” Bowers said. “We may have to jab a little bit , but hopefully by the second quarter we can get something going.”

The man leading the charge is senior Chase Peoples. Peoples has lined up all over the field this season, and his leadership paves the way for the younger players.

“He is that quiet leader,” Bowers said. “He is not real vocal, but he is that type of kid that is going to go out and give everything he has on every play. The guys can really feed off that because they can see the effort he puts out for every play.”

When he touches the ball, Peoples doesn’t dazzle with video game-like spin moves, instead working to wear down a defense with his punishing running style.

“He is not the type of guy that is going to go out there and put moves on people,” Bowers said. “He is a thumper. When he is coming downhill he is going to be hard to tackle. He is the type of running back that, in the first part of the game they may do a pretty good job stopping him, but when your start getting into the second half, it starts making for a long night for the defenders.”

The Rebel defense will have its challenges as well, “They will do some things that could give us some trouble this week,” Bowers said.

Overall, the teams are quite similar.

“They like to do the same things that we like to do,” Bowers said. “When they line up in their base formation, they look like us …They will spread you out. They will try to get everybody bunched in and try to get outside of you…”

Tonight’s game will be the halfway point of the season and Bowers believes the Rebels have a lot of work to do to become the team they want to be.

“We were hoping we would get here with a .500 record,” Bowers said. “We feel like we let one slip away last week. … The things that we thought we would be good at we are and the things that we thought we would struggle with, we are struggling. We just have to keep working to get better.”

Kickoff between the Rebels and Bulldogs is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the Rebels look to close out the first half of the season on a high note.

“It would be very big,” Bowers said. “Not only would it be a win, but it would be a win against a county rival. It would also set us up for us to come home next week for homecoming. So it would give us some momentum heading into that home stretch.”