By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
The Berea Community Pirates (2-7) will be looking to break a four-game losing streak when they travel to Pineville (6-4) today to take on the Mountain Lions in a first-round Class 1A playoff game.
Pineville is coming off back-to-back losses, 50-28 to Hazard and a 47-0 shutout to Williamsburg, after winning its previous five games.
The Pirates enter the game a little healthier than they have been the past couple of weeks, for what Berea coach Adam Coleman said will be a stiff test.
“Pineville’s not as good as it was a few years ago when we played them in a regular-season game that they just pounded us to death in. But they’re still good,” he said.
The Mountain Lions like to play smash-mouth football, Coleman said, and run right at teams.
“They are a Pro-I, power-running team. They spread a little bit, but that’s not what they want to do. They want to run the ball,” Coleman said. “That is pretty much their gameplan. They are good up front, their backs are decent, but I think their strength is in their line up front.”
Several times this season, teams with speedy running backs and receivers have given the Pirates major problems.
The Mountains Lions don’t possess that type of speed, Coleman said, they rely strictly on power and strength. That means the Pirates will have to tackle better than they have in recent games.
“The last couple of weeks the scores have gotten out of hand for a variety of reasons, one being that we had a lot of guys around the ball and we didn’t bring him down,” Coleman said. “Their backs are more power backs instead of speed backs, which are a different kind of animal. You really need a lot of guys around when you try to tackle a guy like that because it’s hard for one guy to bring him down.”
The Pirates plan to crowd the box, Coleman said, by putting as many big guys up front as possible to help block in an effort to bring those big backs down near the line of scrimmage.
Pineville has scored 337 points on the season, but its defense is a little susceptible to the pass, having given up 246 points on the year, so the Pirates look to spread it out a little bit on offense, Coleman said.
“Williamsburg beat them badly last week by throwing it around a lot on them. We would like to try to spread it out a little bit more against them and see if we can’t move the ball,” Coleman said.
The Pirates have had a good week of practice heading into the contest, Coleman said, and he feels like they have devised a good game plan for the Mountain Lions.
One key might be how the Pirates handle adversity, something it hasn’t done very well the past couple of weeks.
“With young guys, when they make a couple of mistakes it kind of snowballs and the next thing you know you’re down four touchdowns,” Coleman said. “I told them this week, instead of letting those mistakes snowball, that’s when you have to dig in your heels and put a stop to that snowball instead of letting it roll over the top of you. You don’t want to have to try to come back from that far behind.”
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.