By ZACK LEE, Sports Editor
The Ware County Gators have gone back to the drawing board this week as they prepare for their next opponent, the Drew Titans, and face the daunting task of trying to slow down an offense that is putting up gaudy numbers on everyone they play.
The Titans are scoring an average of 44 points per game this season and have eclipsed 50 points five times (twice in the playoffs).
“They’re big, they’re fast and they’re strong,” said Ware defensive coordinator Michael Youngblood. “They have a good set of skill kids.”
Youngblood said that two of those skill kids, the running back and quarterback, are very good at running the football. Joseph Newman, the Titans’ quarterback, has rushed for 901 yards on 108 carries this year while Quarderman Sloan has rushed for 1,959 yards on 156 carries.
“They remind me of Mays with more athleticism,” said Youngblood. “If you put Deejay Dallas at quarterback and running back, No. 20 from Rome at wide receiver and the offensive line from Brunswick together, you would have Drew. All three of those mixed together.”
Youngblood explained the reasons why the Titans have had so much success on offense this season and why they have been so difficult to slow down.
“They do a good job of running the football,” said Youngblood. “Once their running game gets started, the secondary starts to look into the backfield and they take advantage by throwing the ball deep.”
Youngblood continued and explained that the Titans have the ability to score often and hitting big plays is a big part of that.
“They do a really good job offensively of putting up points — they have big, explosive plays and they drive down the field,” said Youngblood. “They do a really good job of using their explosive players by putting them in one-on-one situations to make explosive plays.”
Youngblood said that the Titans will try to stretch a defense out to see if they can run the football on the defense.
“When you try to stop the run, they bring out the passing game,” said Youngblood. “They have a really good mixture of what they like to do.”
While the Gators have held their own against opposing offenses this season, the occasional big play has been allowed. Youngblood hopes those “lollipops” don’t happen against the Titans.
“We have to do a better job of not giving up what I like to call ‘lollipops’ — the big, explosive plays,” said Youngblood. “We have to keep stuff in front of us, and make sure that we bend but don’t break. They’re going to make some plays but we just have to remember it’s not the end of the world. As long as we take care of the Gators, we’ll be fine.”