Blue Devils ready for Chickasaws

Blue Devils ready for Chickasaws

West Memphis returns to action after a two- week break

WM School District It will have been 15 days since they last played a game, and in the interim, the West Memphis Blue Devils ran, lifted weights, watched a lot of video and worked on defending the option down the road.

The Aug. 21 season opener against Little Rock Central, which West Memphis won 35-0, is in the rear-view mirror and now it's time for a game every week.

The Blue Devils travel to Blytheville Friday night for a non-conference clash with the Chickasaws.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

'I think our kids came in pretty charged up this week, ready to play some football,' said West Memphis head coach Billy Elmore. 'Our batteries are reset. We had a good week last week and it could have very easily been a very bad week. Now we're back in a normal routine.'

The Blue Devils appeared to be clicking on all cylinders even though their season started at its earliest date ever when they thrashed Central in the Bank of England Mortgage Kickoff Classic presented by 103.7 The Buzz at Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium.

Junior quarterback Owens McConnell, making his first varsity start, completed 14 of 25 passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns, winning Most Valuable Player honors.

The Blue Devil offense churned out 468 yards, 270 of it on the ground as Latavian Thomas rushed for 136 yards and Kelvin Love and Rodney Doby adding 61 and 51 yards respectively.

The defense totally smothered Central's offense, allowing only 70 yards on the ground and only nine first downs.

Noting the time lapse between games, Elmore said Friday's game at Blytheville will have a season- opening type feel to it.

'It's almost got a firstgame feel to it,' he said.

'It feels like so long since we played. This time of year you try to keep an emotionally-even type of keel because you've got conference games down the road. But I think the big thing this time of year is you have to be more focused on execution. We want to be better than we were against Little Rock Central. People say your biggest improvement is between Week 1 and Week 2. I don't know if that's 100 percent accurate.

'Somebody asked me a question the other day: Do you think you'll have to knock some rust off? I don't think we'll know the answer to that until after (Friday night's) game.

We've had good practices and good spirited practices.'

Blytheville comes into the game 1-0 after its 26-21 victory over Osceola last week. Elmore said the Chicks' calling card will be their team speed.

'They have a transfer from Gosnell, and he's got some real speed,' said Elmore. '(The coaching staff) went to their game against Osceola and we saw a lot of team quickness with their skill guys and they've got good size up front. They're a little different-looking team than they were last year.'

The Blue Devils breezed past Blytheville last year 40-0, holding the Chicks to minus 16 yards rushing and only 48 yards passing.

'(The Chicks) seem to have a little different attitude about what they're doing this year,' said Elmore. 'It'll be a big challenge for us Friday night.

They are a better football team than Little Rock Central, so we'll have to go out and play well.'

By Billy Woods