By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
The Madison Southern Eagles (5-0) will put their perfect record on the line tonight at home against a winless (0-6) Pulaski Southwestern team.
But if anyone thinks this one will be easy, they might want to take a closer look at the Warriors.
Southwestern has lost three games by a touchdown or less and had second-half leads in all but two of them against a very tough schedule — five of their six opponents are undefeated.
Southern coach Jon Clark said the Warriors might be the best team in the state to not have won a game and he knows his team will have a battle on its hands tonight.
“Southwestern has played the toughest schedule in 5A, if not the state,” Clark said. “This is the best 0-and-6 team I’ve ever seen, there’s no doubt about it.”
With his team out of school on fall break, Clark said he has used the extra time to watch the Warriors’ last three games on film. Those film sessions have let the Eagles see for themselves the Warriors are better than their record, and Clark said he doesn’t think his team will take them lightly.
“We spent a lot of time watching film, so our guys have seen it with their own eyes. They know that these guys are 0-6, but they are a heck of a lot better than that.”
The Warriors strength is undoubtedly their size on both the offensive and defensive lines. Clark said they are very similar in size to Madison Central, but faster.
On offense, Clark said he expects the warriors to run the ball and try to milk the clock.
“When they line up and just pound the ball, they are pretty good. Their linemen are huge and they move well for their size,” Clark said. “We think they are going to try to control the clock and try to keep our offense off the field. And I think they are going to try to steal a possession or two on special teams somewhere with an onside kick or fake punt or something like that.”
The Eagles are coming off a 48-7 win over South Laurel in which they had fewer than 35 offensive plays.
Junior tailback Damien Harris led the way with 122 yards and four touchdowns on only nine carries.
The Eagles defense was stellar all night, holding the Cardinals to only the late touchdown, while forcing three turnovers.
Against the Cardinals, Southern sophomore quarterback Aaron Sloan was 6-of-9 passing for 108 yards, including a 67-yard touchdown strike to Austin Beetlestone.
Clark said the passing game has improved each game and could be effective against the Warriors.
“Our protection is getting better and Aaron is getting more comfortable in the passing game, so we are starting to get the timing down better. I think we can throw on Southwestern a little bit tonight,” Clark said. “He has been efficient in the passing game, but has had a few interceptions. As he gets more efficient and stops throwing interceptions, I think we will throw the ball a lot more.”
Southwestern has been in every game this season, but because they have to play a lot of players on both sides of the ball, they tend to wear down late in games.
Clark said if his team can weather the storm early in the game they will be in a good position.
With a win tonight, the Eagles can wrap up a spot in the Class 5A playoffs.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.