The Rolla football team will hit the road this week, making their second trip down to Springfield on Friday to face off against Hillcrest. After a rough 49-0 loss to West Plains last week, physicality has been a point of emphasis for the Bulldogs this week.
"Well really we just need to get back to working on our basics a lot more, work on being a little bit more physical," said head coach Jon Franks. "We didn't come in and just grind on the boys this week, but we've kind of gotten back to where we're practicing a little bit more physical and just getting back to more fundamentals. We're trying to make practice more game-like. It's early. We told the guys that when adversity strikes, the leaders are going to rise and we're not going to hide, we're just going to get better."
The Bulldogs have had a chance to see the tape on Hillcrest's first two weeks and coach Franks sees a lot of similarity between the Hornets and his own team. Hillcrest has also faced West Plains and Glendale and found similar results as they enter this matchup with the same 1-1 record.
"I think they're a lot like we are. They've got a lot of kids that want to win and play hard. They've got some talent and they've got some issues, much like us. I think everything is pretty much identical," said coach Franks. "They lost to West Plains the same we did, their victory margin over Glendale is exactly the same as ours. It's one of those, like most weeks, it's not really the focus on them as much as the focus is on us."
Offensively, Hillcrest's top weapon is running back Dion Davis. He rushed for 212 yards and three scores against Glendale last week. They also had a passing game that saw Cameron O'Brey throw for 249 yards. While Hillcrest has some strengths on both sides of the ball, coach Franks and the Bulldogs are focusing on execution, not making any radical changes to what they've done so far this season.
"I think the main thing for them is to just execute and play with great effort and energy and relax. Everyone gets so uptight sometimes and just relax and have fun. Enjoy it, it's our game," said the Rolla head coach. "Go out and take pride in your effort."
Coach Franks' key to the game is pretty simple. If his team goes out, plays hard and executes the gameplan, they'll have a good chance of coming out on top.
"I think the recipe is always the same," said coach Franks. "Play hard, play harder than they do, execute our scheme, play hard, make plays, take care of the football. It's not a difficult recipe, but the team across from you is trying to do the same thing. We just have to execute and do our thing."