Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Football preview: Hoggard heads to Laney on Homecoming Night in Buctown

Hoggard (1-1, 2-5) at Laney (2-1, 5-3)

Homecoming Night in Buctown will feature a pair of teams looking to bounce back as Laney searches for a win against Hoggard for the first time in more than a decade.  While Hoggard has had an extra few days to lick their wounds and get refocused after dropping a home game to New Hanover, Laney gets right back into the mix with another rivalry game following a 21-20 setback to the Wildcats.

Coming off their bye week, the Vikings had extra time to prepare for a Laney offense that has relied heavily on the run this season. Imeek Watkins is coming off arguably his best game production wise after rushing for over 100 yards in last week’s heartbreaking 21-20 setback at Legion Stadium.

The Bucs have opened the playbook as of late and while Watkins is the straw that mixes the drink in the ground game, sophomore quarterback Sherod Sidbury continues to grow leaps and bounds in his first year calling the signals. Jason Billingslea has emerged as a speedy back, who can make plays in the run and pass game after a 19-yard touchdown reception one week ago.

Defensively, Hoggard’s main job is to stop the run, but assignment football always proves to be of the utmost importance when defending an option offense.

Josh Jones and the Hoggard offense have moved the ball all season, but taking care of the football and scoring points in the red zone has been a focal point over the past week of practice. Tony Allen (84 carries, 462 yards, 5 touchdowns) and Rashod Wallace (91 carries, 525 yards, 6 touchdowns) are have split the rushing attempts and have established themselves as the best one-two punch over the past few seasons on the ground.

Jones has also become a threat in the run game, while Tre Houser has stepped up in a big way over the past few weeks on offense and special teams.

The Laney defense has played hard-nosed all season thanks to senior leadership at multiple positions. Cayman Czesak leads the unit at inside linebacker, but the Bucs’ defensive front will play a key role in clogging up running lanes as Ryan Daborowski, Travone McGhee, Lewis Powell and Dionte Hicks face a talented Hoggard line led by senior Labib Ismail.

Both teams have the ability to move the football, but special teams play has hurt both programs at times this season. Laney had an extra point blocked last week. Hoggard is looking to shore things up in the third facet of the game after allowing a punt return for a touchdown to go along with a couple of mishaps on the snap during punting situations. Whichever team wins on special teams could be the one who goes home a winner on Friday night.

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