The Glen Rose Beavers find themselves in a different but exciting situation to start the 2012 season. With Benton and Bryant playing in the same conference this season, and not playing the Salt Bowl until week four, the Beavers now take part in the biggest game of Week 1. With in-county rival Malvern coming into Glen Rose on Friday, the Beavers kick off the season with bragging rights on the line.
Last season, a year that ended with eight wins for the Beavers, week one was a game that the Beavers and Head Coach Mark Kehner would love to forget. Coming into Bauxite, Glen Rose looked as if it were the sure winner. That was not the case as the Miners ran to a 26-7 victory. That was the last game Bauxite would win in 2011, going 0-9 the rest of the way.
But now that the 2012 season is upon Glen Rose, winning in Week 1 is the main priority right now.
“We have our good days and we have our bad,” Kehner said. “We are just ready to get out there and play the game. Some days are a little bit sharper and crisper, but once we get in the game, hopefully we can work on that more than we can in practice.”
Kehner said that his team is working hard heading into Week 1.
As far as the match against the Leopards is concerned, the key for Glen Rose is to “execute on offense and not turn the ball over,” Kehner said.
“It doesn’t matter what the weather is like. You cannot turn the ball over,” Kehner said in reference to Hurricane Isaac’s threat of bad weather later this week.
“We can’t give them the ball on a short field with an offense as good as theirs.”
Glen Rose is hoping to throw the ball on Friday against Malvern.
“We are hoping to throw against their young secondary,” Kehner said. “It’s not that they are not talented, they are just a little inexperienced. With weather coming in, we are going to have to dictate with whatever the weather allows us to do.”
Glen Rose did take a bit of a hit to one of its main offensive weapons last week in a scrimmage game with Mayflower as senior wide receiver Lane Ballard went down with an ankle injury.
“As of right now, he is out,” Kehner said. “It is going to hurt not having that weapon on the field.”
Kehner said that he does not think Ballard is even a game-time decision at this point and is expected to be without him for Week 1.
Even with Ballard out, Malvern Head Coach John Folgman is not buying too much into his absence.
“I’ll believe he is not in the game when he is not in there,” Folgman said. “We are not going to change anything because their quarterback is a good athlete and they run the ball very well. I’m sure they would love to have (Ballard) but they have other people that can hurt us as well.”
As far as how both teams match up, Glen Rose may still have the slight edge over Malvern just because the Leopards are so young in the skilled positions. But, Malvern did make it to the state title game last season and is currently ranked at the top of its conference to begin the year. Plus, with any rivalry game, numbers go out the window. It is all about who shows up.
There is one other factor to week one for both teams and that is deciding on what day to actually play the game.
Kehner, along with Folgman, said that Glen Rose will be deciding Thursday morning on whether to play Friday night, despite the weather threat, or to move the game to Saturday night at the same time.
“Obviously it would be nice to play on Friday,” Folgman said. “But, who knows? We will leave that up to (Glen Rose) and we are confident that they will make the right decision.”
Start time is still set for 7 p.m. on Friday night as of right now. Check The Saline Courier’s Facebook page for more information on Thursday morning. If the game is moved to Saturday, Kehner said the start time will remain the same.