Eagles face big challenge

Cleburne County (2-3, 2-1) at Hokes Bluff (1-4, 0-3)
Series record:
Cleburne County 3, Hokes Bluff 2
Last meeting: 2003 Cleburne County 8, Hokes Bluff 7
Last week: Hokes Bluff 27, Glencoe 24 (OT); Cleburne County 35, St. Clair County 14

    By Gene Stanley/Messenger Sports Correspondent

    Hokes Bluff coach Mike Robertson ranks last week’s overtime win over Glencoe as one of his top-five all-time victories.
    The fact that the Eagles got the zero monkey off their backs, combined with the fact that the opponent was Glencoe was enough to make it memorable.
    The bigger memorable part for Robertson was the fact is that his son Brad and long-time assistant coach Greg Watkins’ son Matthew were big parts of the victory, making it personally sweeter.
    The win broke the Eagles’ four-game losing streak to the Yellow Jackets, and it was the last chance for the above two seniors to be able to say they beat Glencoe.
    However, there’s another big challenge ahead as Cleburne County visits tonight.
    “And now we’ve got the Green Bay Packers coming in,” Mike Robertson joked. “Their running back can run backward faster than we can go forward. We’ve got to stop him on first contact or we’re going to be trying to block a lot of extra points.”
    Cleburne County coach Michael Shortt disagrees with that assessment.
    “We’re a lot like Hokes Bluff in that we don’t have a ton of great athletes,” Shortt said. “That’s not saying they’re not solid football players. We just don’t have the speed or size that a lot of teams have.”
    There is definitely a mutual respect among the long-time coaches as each praised the other for the discipline and attitudes of their teams.
    “You rarely see a Michael Shortt-coached team make many mistakes,” Coach Robertson said.
    Shortt countered with, “They (Hokes Bluff) are going to be in the right place and do the right thing. There’s a reason he’s been there for so long.”
    Last week against Glencoe, Brad Robertson completed 8-of-20 passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns, while Charlie     Reed had three receptions for 50 yards and a score.
    Braydon Hawk led the Eagle ground game with 40 yards on 10 carries.
Chase Pope had nine tackles, followed by Matthew Truett with seven and Dustin Herman with six.

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