“We shouldn’t have a letdown. It’s our home opener. We get excited about Friday nights no matter who we are playing,” the fifth-year coach stated.
Hoping to build on last week’s 26-16 victory over perennial playoff participant Polk County, Floyd added that his team knows the importance of not overlooking anybody. “You can’t take a week off. It doesn’t matter how they (Coffee County) did last year or last week, they are going to come in here and play hard for four quarters, so we better be ready.”
After making the TSSAA playoffs despite a 3-8 record last year, the Red Raiders took some lumps in their 2010 opener against Shelbyville Central last Friday.
Shelbyville sophomore Marquis Morton scored on runs of 73 and 18 yards, returned a “Pick 6” 65 yards to paydirt and returned a kickoff 70 yards for another touchdown as the Golden Eagles screamed to a 49-13 lead on Coffee’s home field.
The Red Raiders’ two scores came courtesy of quarterback Chris Murray, who ran the ball in from 11 and 4 yards out, both in the second quarter.
Coffee County went 2-1 in preseason scrimmages, beating Wilson Central and Marshall County, but falling to Page.
Coach Eddie Nunley’s crew has most of their skill players returning including Murray, who the Bears picked off three times in a 21-0 victory in Manchester last fall.
Senior fullback Ronnie Manus led the team with 657 yards and a half dozen touchdowns in 2009, while senior wingbacks Kyle Brazier and Ethan Myers combined for 511 yards on 113 carries.
“They run a wing-T offense similar to Polk County’s and don’t throw very much,” Coach Floyd related.
With the addition of new offensive coordinator Gerald Tidwell, the Red Raiders are trying to “do more things than the wing-T,” Coach Nunley said before the season began. “Tidwell’s given us more options this season.”
Defensively, Coffee County runs “a five-man front most of the time, with some very aggressive linebackers,” Floyd remarked. “They are a very physical, hard-nosed team that will give it all they’ve got.”
Last season’s matchup was scoreless until midway through the third period before Dewaun Massengill broke free on a 24-yard run to paydirt.
The Bears tacked on two more scores in the final quarter, one by Justin Houston and the other by Bryce Copeland.
Massengill, Houston and Copeland were all involved in last week’s scoring as well.
Now a 6-foot, 240-pound senior, Massengill bulled for 65 yards on 13 carries, including a pair of touchdowns.
Houston used his speed to get behind the Polk County secondary and Copeland hit him in stride for a 65-yard scoring strike. The sophomore quarterback scored himself latter in the contest to seal the final margin of victory.
Copeland completed 7-of-12 passes for 150 yards, while Houston finished with 85 yards of total offense.
Although the Bear defense gave up just over 300 yards to the Wildcats, a trio of takeaways stalled Polk County’s drives and shifted the game’s momentum.
“We played well overall defensively. We gave up some passing yards (113) but we were able to execute our game plan,” Coach Floyd commented. “We played unselfish defense with guys plugging holes that allowed other players to make the tackles.”
“Offensively, we have got to do a better job of adjusting during the game and making audibles at the line. That’s on me,” the Bear coach added. “We took what they (the Polk defense) gave us and made the most of it.”
If Bradley’s second meeting with Coffee County goes as well as its first, the Bears will be riding high with a 2-0 start heading into the annual showdown with another set of Raiders next Friday at Bear Stadium.