PRICE - Carlisle kicked off the District 10-2A slate with an easy 34-0 shutout over Cushing last week, but the hill gets a lot steeper Friday night when the Indians travel to Alto to take on the No. 8 state-ranked Yellowjackets.
And if things weren’t going to be hard enough for the Indians, they’ll be going into the game short-handed as one starter and two key reserves have been ruled out with injuries.
Defensive tackle Jaden Jordan is wearing a cast due to a thumb injury while reserve wide receiver Nacho Villanueva has a gash on his arm that required 15 stitches and backup running back Corey Roe is out with a knee injury. Both Villanueva and Roe will see a lot of action in the defensive line also.
Since the Tribe suits out only 25 on the varsity, the loss of those three will be a big blow to the Indians’ depth.
“We’ll have to move some kids around this week,” Carlisle coach Clay Baker admitted.
Baker said the offensive line stood out during the Cushing game. “All five starters graded out in the 90s and that’s the first time this year that’s happened. We were really pleased with them.”
Quarterback Carlos DeLeon ran for 163 yards on just 11 carries and three touchdowns and completed 10-of-12 passes for 120 yards and another score.
Levi Gholson had his best game of the season against the Bearkats. Gholson recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff that gave the Indians the ball at the Cushing three, then tipped and intercepted, while falling down, a pass which the Cushing QB was trying to throw away and also returned a fumble six yards for a touchdown. In addition, Gholson had a pair of receptions for 19 yards.
“He had a good night and definitely found the ball for us those two fumble recoveries and the interception,” Baker said. “He had a couple of tackles as well and a big reception on a scramble. He had a really big night and it’s good to see him coming on on defense. He’s been improving each week and it’s good to see him stepping up this time of year.”
Alto, 6-0 on the season, thumped Big Sandy 41-14 last week in the ‘Jackets’ district opener.
“Alto is extremely fast, a lot of speed all over the field,” Baker said. “They run a lot of formations on offense and do a good job of mixing it up. Defensively, all 11 of them are fast to the football.
“A couple of kids that stand out defensively are two of their linebackers, Harmon West and Cayle Irvin.
West is the defensive coordinator’s son so I’m sure he’s well acquainted on what they’ve got going and West is also their quarterback. He’s been a starting linebacker the past two years.”
Baker said the Yellowjackets have two outstanding defensive ends in Foster Hall and Todd Duplichain. “They really get after it and they’ve both have fast motors,” the Tribe coach pointed out. “They’ve got quite a few sacks between them.
“They’re an aggressive defense and they’re only averaging allowing a touchdown a game for a reason.”
Baker said Vi’Darcous High and Aaron Skinner split time at running back. “They’re both pretty good and they keep them fresh. West can really throw the football.” The Alto offense will be without perhaps its fastest player, Marlon Warren, who suffered a broken arm last week in the Big Sandy game.
“The key for us is we’ve got to be able to sustain drives, the big plays are probably not going to be there quite as much for us because they’ve got the speed to combat that but I think we can move the football on them.
“We just can’t shoot ourselves in the foot with penalties because it’s going to be hard to convert third and 15 or 20, but we can go out and get four five yards a whack. We’re going to have to take what they give us in the passing game, I think they’re going to man us up. The main thing is don’t turn the ball over and don’t get penalties on offense.
“Defensively, I think if the kids buy into our game plan this week we’ve got a good chance to hopefully limit them.
“We’ve got a good game plan on both sides of the ball, but they’ve got a lot of good athletes and sometimes good athletes trump Xs and Os. We’ll get after it and play hard.”