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Wildcats hit the back roads to Carrollton

August 30, 2012
By FRED YOUNCE - Sports writer ( , The Herald-Star

RICHMOND - The Edison Wildcats look to bounce back from its tough 37-28 opening week loss to Oak Glen when they travel to Carrollton for a 7:30 p.m. start on Friday.

Edison head coach Mike McKenzie feels his team is in the mindset to do just that.

"They are bouncing back well," he said. "I've always said kids bounce back faster than coaches and adults do."

The Wildcats found a strength in their running game which racked up 249 yards against the Golden Bears, including a pair of 100-yard rushers in tailback Chris Graziani (138) and quarterback Nolan Marcus (110). Graziani showed his ability to explode with a 99-yard score in the third quarter.

"We're hopeful that we'll continue to improve in the passing game," said McKenzie. "We continue to strive to be balanced between running and throwing.

"We feel like we weren't too far off. We watched films and counted about six passes that we were only about a step off.

"We did good things in the running game and will look to get better there."

Much like the passing attack, McKenzie feels like the defense was extremely close last week as well. The key will be for them to finish plays this week.

"We need to tackle better," he said. "We didn't tackle well, especially in open space. Oak Glen hit a number of big plays, but we had people there in position to make plays. We just didn't make the tackles.

"Monday we did a lot of tackling in practice. It has been an emphasis for us this week. We had a few breakdown, but they weren't really assignment issues. Just like in the passing game we were a step or so out of the right position. We need to finish plays better."

McKenzie sees some similarities between his offense and what the Warriors bring to the table. Though they are a little more bruising in their attack.

"They're similar to us in the run a shot gun with three or four receivers," he said. "They like to run out of that formation like we do. They run more inside because they have a big line so we can expect to see a lot of ISO and inside zone plays.

"We have to force them into definite passing situations."

Defensively what makes the Warriors dangerous is the way they mix things up.

"They like to show different things defensively," said McKenzie. "They run a 3-4 with three down lineman. They blitz a lot out of that and run a number of stunts.

"They mix coverages very well. They'll run cover 2, cover 3, cover 4, and even some cover 1 so we have to recognize that.

"They can run a different defense basically every snap. They create confusion. We'll have to run the ball to set up the passing game and not let their stunts confuse us."