Beckville falls in opener

Beckville’s Ryan Harris (9) is chased by Shelbyville’s Grady Clay (52) and Dylan Robbins (44) during Friday night’s season opener.

Quite a few football coaches believe their teams make the most improvement of the season between the first and second football games.

If that holds true, things could start shaping up quickly for the Beckville Bearcats.

Beckville has already put in a few changes its coaches think will help out, while the visitor for Friday night’s game — the West Sabine Tigers — have yet to play their first game as their season opener against Frankston was canceled.

The Bearcats’ Homecoming kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. in Beauchamp Stadium.

“I’d like to think that will be something in our favor,” Beckville Head Coach Cody Ross said. “They haven’t had a chance to see what they’ll do against another team in a 48-minute game. Of course, with this being their first game they’re going to be pretty excited about getting a chance to play someone else.

“We have to be ready for what they come at us with, and they’ll be pretty good sized. If we can step up and be as physical as they are, we have a good shot at stopping them.”

The Tigers rely heavily on their ground game as Ross estimates they went to run the ball 95 percent of the time. Expect to see a lot of two tight end sets and the quarterback under center, rather than a spread formation with the quarterback in the shotgun.

“They’re just going to run it and run it and run it,” Ross said. “We might have to bring a few more men into the box to shut down the run and force them to pass.

“They don’t want to have to pass the ball.”

Julius Mason (5-6, 185) returns at running back for the Tigers after rushing for 1,146 yards and eight touchdowns on last year’s bi-district playoff team.

Among the top returning players for the Tigers are running backs Colton Anderson, Dylan Anderson and Garrett Cartwright; and linemen Purdell Sigler and Zack Rutherford.

Colton Anderson, who plays linebacker on defense, had 130 stops and eight tackles for loss as he was their district’s Newcomer of the Year.

Ross didn’t anticipate making any changes on defense because of the style offense the Tigers play. But he and his staff did move some people around up front.

“We’re made a few changes to find out who can play where,” Ross said. “We’ve simplified a few things, and we had a really good workout yesterday. Now we just need to continue to improve and play better. If we can do that we’ll be OK.”