Rebels ready for Lions

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, August 30, 2017

After getting their feet wet last Friday night against Barbour County, the Zion Chapel Rebels will officially kick off the 2017 season on the road against Houston County.

In his first game action as a head coach, Randy Bryant and the Rebels knocked off the Jaguars 29-12.

“We had a lot of fun,” Bryant said. “Obviously, any time you get a win it’s fun. I thought it was a great experience for our team. Barbour County is very athletic. That prepares you down the road to play teams that are like that.”

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The Rebels scored 29 points offensively despite not playing up to their potential according to Bryant.

“I felt like we had a better showing defensively than we did offensively,” Bryant said. “I think we left some points on the board. I know we are going from last year’s coach and from running the split-back veer under center. We are spreading it out and throwing the football.

“There are expected growing pains on offense more so than on defense. I was very pleased defensively. There were still mistakes, but I thought that part of team really showed up Friday night.”

Bryant believes the defense is normally ahead of the offense this time of the year but, with time, believes his offense will catch up.

“I think our offense will improve in time,” Bryant said. “We are going from not throwing or catching any balls last year to throwing over 100 balls a day. Our guys need to learn to catch more efficiently and effectively than they did last year.”

After a long summer of work and practice, the Rebels were able to see it pay off on Friday night with a win.

“I thought our kids got to experience success, which was our biggest takeaway from it,” Bryant said. “They got to see that everything we have been doing works. I was really pleased getting the win, but I saw some room for improvement on my team also.”

This Friday, the Rebels take on a Houston County team that already has one game under their belt after defeating Cottonwood 27-12 a week ago.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge of going to Houston County,” Bryant said. “They return everybody except for one starter. They lost four seniors last year, so they are a really talented team. I think it will be a good challenge for our team.”

The Rebels will have the opportunity to take their game on the road for the first time when they head to Columbia.

“We approach every game the same whether it’s a home or away game,” Bryant said. “It will be good to get out and get away from our home stadium for a bit and experience some adversity.”

The Rebels have lost all five of their prior meetings with the Lions, including a 49-7 loss last season.

Kickoff between the Rebels and the Lions is scheduled for 7 p.m. at L.F. Tillery Field.