Cardinals open region slate against Whitmire

Published 6:34 pm Friday, October 1, 2010

by John Clayton

Another week, another winless opponent for Landrum.

The Cardinals (3-2) have put together back-to-back dynamic offensive performances on the way to their Region II-A opener at 7:30 tonight against visiting Whitmire (0-5).

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Last week, similarly winless Liberty was the victim in a 56-14 trouncing by LHS and its explosive offense.

The Cardinals have scored 110 points in their past two games, including a 54-21 win over Dixie, and the statistics point toward another rout as LHS returns home.

But LHS head coach Russell Mahaffey doesnt put all his stock in numbers.

They have a few guys on their team who can get after it, said LHS Mahaffey. They have a quarterback who can throw the ball and a good running back, so were going to have to play good ball.

Whitmire is coming off a 47-18 loss to the same Dixie team that was dominated by LHS two weeks ago.

So far this season, the Wolverines are giving up 44.2 points per game on defense and their spread offense has scored just 45 points all season for a 9 point-per-game average. Whitmires 18 points last week against Dixie was a season high.

In their three victories this season, the Cardinals are averaging 48.7 points per game.

LHS quarterback Brandon Cannon accounted for five touchdowns against Liberty three passing and two rushing. He is closing in on 1,000 yards passing on the season with 931 yards through five games and is the teams second-leading rusher with 244 yards on 66 carries.

First-year starting halfback Cole McDowell is also closing in on 1,000 yards from scrimmage as the team leader in rushing (610) and receiving (262) yardage.

LHS found itself in a first-quarter track meet at Liberty as the two teams combined for a 35-point first quarter. The Cardinals came out of that opening stanza with a 21-14 lead, but had made frustrating mistakes that helped the Red Devils keep the game close.

LHS was penalized 15 times for 105 yards against Liberty, the second time this season the Cardinals have reached double digits in penalties and triple digits in penalty yardage.

We had some issues in the first-quarter last week that weve got to iron out, but weve worked hard this week in practice to fix those things and move forward, Mahaffey said.

Mahaffey said he wants to see his team put together another four full quarters of intense play, similar to its last home win over Dixie.

Weve got to learn to get off the bus and hit the field running, he said. I dont know how ready we were to play in the first quarter at Liberty, but once we got focused we were able to turn things around. Mahaffey said.

He also hopes his players learned a lesson from those early struggles against Liberty that also applies to a statistically overmatched Whitmire team.

You never want to overlook anybody and you always want to be prepared to play, and I think we learned that in the first quarter against Liberty the other night, he said. Weve got to learn to play a whole game.