Claremore Daily Progress


November 16, 2012

Ground warfare: In Verdigris, Hilldale faces another prime running back


HILLDALE — Inman at 6-foot-4, 280 pounds is the biggest of a line that significantly outmatches the Hornets’ three-man front in size.

“They’re not particularly big or as big as teams we’ve faced but they’re fast and that’s a concern that hopefully we’ll be able to handle. But they’re definitely good at flying to the football,” Inman said.

Sanders, at 6-0, 183, will line up opposite Inman.

“I usually use my speed but this guy is a big guy who happens to be a fairly skilled lineman and in that respect, I’m going to have to bust the holes and let Josh (Giem) do some work,” Sanders said.

Giem, the Hornets’ inside linebacker, represents the second wave of defense on plays up the middle.

“You can’t just arm tackle him. You’ve got to hit him up high and drive,” he said. “I’m planning on meeting him in the hole several times.

“They throw the ball maybe five times a game. It would be great if we could force them to beat us that way but we know they’ve been pretty successful running the ball so it’s  going to be a challenge, no doubt.”

Smith assessed the Hornets’ defenders this way.

“There’s nothing that just stands out big-time to me. They’re just a well-rounded, quality unit that gives a lot of effort, plays with heart and plays to the whistle,” he said.

What’s clear to Kirkhart is this is a battle that will be won by what happens in the ground game. His team is also riding the momentum of the school’s first-ever playoff shutout with the 35-0 win over Checotah last week.

“Every week one of the first things you go in thinking is you have to stop the run.  Well with them that’s all they do,” he said. “Against Sperry (Verdigris’ regular season finale) they ran the ball at one point 39 straight times. When you have not just one but two guys who are as physical as those guys are it’s going to be a challenge, which is what you expect at this time of the year anyway.

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