Despite Vincent boasting just two wins on the season, Reeltown’s football team can throw that record out. The Yellow Jackets seem to have found their stride, winning their last two in a row, and their new identity could pose problems for Reeltown, which is hunting down an undefeated record in Class 2A Region 4.
“It’s a different type of complacency this week,” Rebel coach Matt Johnson said. “Last week if you get complacent, you just don’t play well and it becomes frustration. This week, if you get complacent, you’re going to lose.”
Thunder and lightning could easily be the nicknames for Vincent’s JT Youngblood and LaDonte McGregor, respectively. The pair of running backs pose a problem for defenses as Youngblood boasts a ton of size and McGregor is as fast as they come in Class 2A.
Plus, the Yellow Jackets (2-5, 2-2) protect well up front just due to their sheer size.
“They’ve honed in what they do,” Johnson said. “They’re a jet team running some power and pulling their guards in with some play-action passes. And they throw a good deep ball. Once they figured out who they are, they’ve gotten better each week.”
It was Youngblood who was the workhorse in Vincent’s big win over Horseshoe Bend a week ago, but McGregor was the one who hit the Generals for the big plays.
“You have a big kid back there so you have to load the box a little bit to stop him, but then they have (McGregor) coming across on the jet so you gotta have people outside,” Johnson said. “What they do could definitely poses some problems. Their quarterback (Will Harris) spins the ball good. He throws some good balls and if he doesn’t, he just throws it far enough that (McGregor) can run underneath it and catch it.”
In a lot of ways, Vincent is similar to Reeltown (8-0, 5-0) in that it has a myriad of offensive weapons. So the Rebels are going to have to be on their A game offensively as well. Iversoon Hooks returned at quarterback last week and although the Rebels didn’t throw the ball at all last week against Central Coosa, Johnson said Hooks continues to show improvement in practice.
Johnson expects his offense to look a lot more balanced this week and that’s one area where the Rebels will need to grow offensively before the playoffs arrive.
“They’re going to have six people in the box with their base set, so we gotta be balanced enough so they don’t start sneaking those outside linebackers in and all of a sudden create an eight-man box,” Johnson said. “It’s going to be tough to get big plays against them because they got (McGregor) at midfield safety and nobody is going to outrun him.”
Vincent also has a lot to play for. The No. 4 seed in the region is still up for grabs and the Yellow Jackets helped their own cause with the victory last week but a win over Reeltown would seriously turn the tide in Vincent’s favor. On the other hand, the Rebels have already wrapped up the region title but are looking to check off their next goal which is to go undefeated in region play for the second year in a row.
“I feel good about where we are and we’re getting some depth in some areas for sure,” Johnson said. “Everybody is healthy for the most part, so I feel better where we’re at right now than I did a few weeks ago because we have some guys that have matured. But we just can’t take the gas off now.”