The Bauxite Miners have hit a bit of a road block over the past five weeks. What seemed like a promising year in week one has turned into a nightmare over the course of only five games.
The Miners torched their arch rivals from Glen Rose at “The Pit” in week one, beating them 26-7. Since then, the Miners have been outscored 170-72 with their most recent loss coming last week at the hands of Robinson, 51-29.
The Miners have been able to hold their last two opponents to a tie or a slim lead at the half but has not been able to hold on when it really matters in the second half. Bauxite, who some say are too small to be in class 4A, play in one of the hardest conferences in state. Teams like multiple state title winner Nashville and Malvern are some key teams in 4A.
But, one team that is unlike any other team in the nation is squad the Miners will face off with this week, the Pulaski Academy Bruins. PA has been on a tear since the season started. Averaging 52 points per game and outscoring their opponents 313-150 over six games, the Bruins are not a team the Miners want to see, especially on the road. PA made national headlines in week two when they beat 7A Cabot 64-34. Though the score is a big time romp, the first half was the biggest story. Before Cabot could take a single offensive snap, PA was up 29-0 after converting multiple onside kicks. The Bruins converted seven on the night.
As for what needs to happen if Bauxite has a chance to win on Friday, the Miners special teams will be very key to how the game turns out. Playing a team that relies on the onside kick, defense has to be top-notch.
Head Miners’ coach Shane Clancy did make a move that many people have been saying needed to happen for a while and that was change Tim Dunlap to a running back or wide receiver and move sophomore Jordan Branson to quarterback. Clancy made that move last week. Though the Miners still lost, the move should play a factor over the course of the rest of the season.
PA returns starting quarterback Fredi Knighten in 2011. In 2010, Knighten tossed for 4,318 yards and 53 touchdowns while rushing for 877 yards. Knighten received scholarship offers over the summer from Louisiana Tech and Arkansas State.
Arkansas and Ole Miss also looked at the stellar quarterback. The defense of the Bruins is also very good again this year, returning six starters on the defensive side from a year ago.
PA’s defense held Ashdown to negative 38 yards in the state quarterfinals a season ago.
Bauxite and PA are set to battle on Friday at 7 p.m. at PA.