If there’s one thing that Walker football coach Chad Mahaffey is looking for from his team after reviewing film of last week’s loss to St. Amant, it’s consistency, especially on offense.
“You go back and look, and we had more plays than they did,” said Mahaffey, whose team hosts Mandeville at 7 p.m. Friday, said. “Other than our first two drives, we got at least a first down or two every series, so we were having some success. We had some big third down and fourth down conversions. I think we struggled to maybe create some explosive plays, so we’ve got to get better there, but it’s really just consistency and not having the negative plays …”
Quarterback Hunter Bethel went 19 for 31 for 202 yards and two touchdowns with Noah Cecil (four receptions, 61 yards), Jacory Thomas (3-49, TD), Jarvis Patterson (4-41, TD) and Warren Young Jr. (5-31) as his top targets. CJ McClendon had nine carries for 47 yards to pace the Wildcats on the ground.
Mahaffey also lamented some third-down conversions the Wildcats gave up which he said “changed points”, a penalty on a Walker punt return for a touchdown and a botched quick kick that resulted in a return for a touchdown for St. Amant.
“We’ve got to be consistent and eliminate some of those big negative plays,” Mahaffey said.
Mandeville (1-0) is coming off a 27-6 win over Dunham in which the Skippers scored 20 unanswered points in the second half.
Douglas McGowan had a 70-yard touchdown run, while Joron Lee had a 54-yard TD run as part of the Skippers’ second-half surge.
“I think they’ve got a lot of quickness, especially on offense,” Mahaffey said. “I think their skill players are very good. I think that they’re pretty tough and physical on defense, got some good guys up front, some linebackers that will hit you. They’re just well-coached in their scheme. They’re a program, I think coach (Hutch Gonzales) has been there four or five years now, so I think he’s kind of got all their guidelines and things established so that you know what they’re doing. They’re playing well.”
Receiver Landon Ibieta, who is committed to Miami (Fla.), had four catches for 95 yards and a touchdown last week.
“I think the tough thing is they do a good job of getting those guys in space, and they’re some tough guys to tackle,” Mahaffey said. “We’ve got to obviously be good at tackling, but we’ve got to tackle in numbers. Those guys, if you miss and there’s not good pursuit, they can make it a big play in a hurry. We’ve got to do a good job with getting a lot of hats to the ball and just continuing to improve on our (tackling technique) on defense.”
Mahaffey said the Skippers base out of a 3-3 defense.
“They’ll send people from different places and they can kind of move their guys around,” Mahaffey said. “They do some different stuff in the secondary that can make it a challenge to try and read as a quarterback, so we’ll have to do a good job of just paying attention to what we’re seeing and trusting the things we worked on.”