The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

November 22, 2012

Allen: Rejoice Christian to test Laverne

ENID, Okla. — Since the start of the 2012 season, the Laverne Tigers haven’t won a game by fewer than 18 points, beating each of their 12 opponents by an average of 42.6 points.

Head coach Tim Allen figures that streak will end tonight when the Tigers play Rejoice Christian in a neutral-site Class B semifinal at Enid’s D. Bruce Selby Stadium. Hopefully, he said, his team will extend the more important streak: 12 wins.

“We’ll find out Friday, against a good team,” Allen said. “They’re very good at what they do, and it’s going to be a ball game. A tough game.”

Rejoice Christian’s run-heavy offense — the Eagles have almost twice as many rushing touchdowns (65) as completed passes (37) — has rarely been effectively countered in 2012, tallying an average of 310 yards per contest and accounting for the bulk of the team’s 51 points per outing.

The Eagles’ double-wing gashed Garber for 377 yards on 62 attempts in Rejoice Christian’s 10th consecutive win, 44-22 in last Friday’s Class B quarterfinal round in Owasso.

“I’ve never played a team that runs the wing offense they run,” Allen said. “It’s hard to prepare for, it’s hard to simulate in practice, and it’s very effective. They’re extremely well-defined in what they do, and they do it well. I haven’t seen anybody shut them down. I hope we can slow them down.”

If past is prologue, Laverne likely will at least do the latter. The Tigers have yet to surrender more than 26 points in a game, a rare achievement at 8-man football’s high-scoring pace.

When Laverne has given an opposing offense room, it has always scored in kind, topping at least 60 points when surrendering 20 or more. Still, Allen was quick to praise Rejoice Christian’s own defense, a unit that has pitched seven shutouts this season, five straight during a scoreless month from Sept. 21 to Oct. 26, and one more in the opening round of the playoffs against Weleetka.

“They play very good defense,” he said. “I think we have to be very careful about what we do.”

Which includes divulging the team’s plan of attack. Allen played his offensive cards close to the chest, explaining, “(Rejoice Christian) might read the newspaper.”

Allen did offer who he thought needed to perform if Laverne is going to make the Class B State Championship after falling one game short last season.

“Everybody,” he said. “Everybody has to have a good game. They all have to show up.”

The winner will play the Pond Creek-Hunter/Fox winner next week in the state championship game.

Admission for the game is $7 for adults and $5 for students.

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