HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Lakeside coach Jared McBride says Vilonia reminds him a lot of his Rams.
The Eagles and Lakeside clash Friday night in Hot Springs in a 5A second round playoff game. The Rams had a bye last week, while Vilonia crushed a good Watson Chapel team, 60-21. Friday’s winner advances to play Little Rock Christian or Clarksville.
“I watched Vilonia on live stream, they’ve got a good football team,” said McBride. “They play hard, they’re well coached, and they don’t put themselves in a bad position. It should be a good football game.
“Vilonia’s conference was really tough. They were a couple of snaps away from being the second seed. You’ve got to figure they can play with anybody.”
Vilonia runs multiple offensive formations
Coach Matthew Cain’s Eagles are multiple on offense. They use a lot of formations, and a lot of players carry the ball. They also play two or three quarterbacks.
“We’ve got to recognize, and get in the right position on defense,” said McBride. “They run a three-man front on defense that’s very aggressive. You’ll see a lot of blitzing and moving around. We’ve got to be good on first down, and complete our passes. I do like the matchup. I’m really just glad to play and be at home.”
Lakeside (6-3) won the 5A South championship for the second straight year playing good defense. The Rams’ offense looked good two weeks ago against a weak Hope team.
Quarterback Will Ross is a dual threat for the Rams. He’s thrown for 1,639 yards and 18 touchdowns this season. Diminutive running back Isaac Echols has carried the ball 130 times for 826 yards and six touchdowns. Ross’ favorite target has been Logan White, with 774 receiving hards and 11 TDs.
Perrigo one of the best in state says McBride
Arguably, the Rams’ best player is senior linebacker Will Perrigo (5-10, 190).
“Willy is a fantastic football player,” said McBride. “He’s played a lot of snaps for us over the years, starting as a sophomore. Willy does the dirty work on offense, he’s a fantastic blocker. He’s just a naturally aggressive football player. I think he’ll have a chance to play in college if that’s what he wants to do.”
The Eagles had five big-play touchdowns in last week’s lopsided win, including two punt returns.
“If we win this week we get another opportunity to play at home again,” said McBride. “The virus got Benton last week, and it’s probably going to happen again. We just hope it doesn’t happen to us.”