The Duncan Banner
With its four-game win streak broken by a 28-12 loss to Empire last Friday, Velma-Alma looks to lock up third place in the district.
To do that, it has to get through Healdton, who is vying for the fourth playoff spot at home on Friday. The only way for the Bulldogs (4-5, 3-3) to do that is to beat the Comets (6-3, 4-2) by 15 or more points. If that were to happen, Velma-Alma might miss out on the playoffs. With a lot to play for, coach Greg Gothard knows it won’t be easy.
“They got a chance to make the playoffs,” Gothard said. That’s a lot to play for. It’s their senior night. So, we’re going into hostile territory, and we’re going to face a pretty good football team.”
Gothard draws some parallels between the issues they had against Empire (7-2, 5-1). The Comets had a difficult time stopping Dillon Twigg and its defensive line will be tested again by Healdton.
“They run right at you,” Gothard said. “It’s not very fancy, but they’re going to test your resolve. Last week, we didn’t do a good job of stopping Empire running right at us. So we got to do a better job of defensively lining up and shutting down the run.”
Gothard said the team’s preparation has been more focused than a week ago. Being on the other end of that loss always seems to force players to buckle down more, he said.
“You never like to lose, but losing always points out your imperfections,” Gothard said. “You’ve got to correct those imperfections, and hopefully, we can get that done this week.”
Captains senior Alan Beck and junior Creede Wright have both taken up the roles of trying to get the team ready. Gothard thinks they’ve set the tone for the week.
“Our kids have responded well,” he said. “I think those two guys especially. The rest of the guys have followed suit. It’s been a good week of prep.”
Beck was the main target for junior quarterback Ty Richardson in the 30-20 victory against Rush Springs the week before the Empire game. He caught two touchdowns that bookended the scoring for the Comets.
“He gives confidence that you don’t have to be perfect on your throws,” Gothard said. “That just makes it a lot easier, a lot more comfortable. Then the throws start getting better.”
If Velma-Alma finishes third in the district, it will play Cashion on the road to start the playoffs. If it finishes fourth, it will play Minco.