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Gridiron Preview – One Win and We’re In

The Carmi-White County Bulldogs are a win away from officially clinching a playoff spot for the 2nd consecutive year and the 17th time under Kurt Simon. This week’s opponent for CWC is the winless Edwards County Lions, who are coming off a 20-7 loss at home vs Vienna-Goreville in a game where the Lions scored their first touchdown of the season. 

There is no question that Edwards County is in the middle of a rebuild. After a historic season in 2018 which saw them reach the 2nd round of the playoffs for the first time in school history, the Lions have only won 5 games since. Edwards County is riding a 16-game losing streak, dating back to week 3 of the 2021 spring season. Russ Gerlach is in his 3rd season since being promoted to head coach, and he has had some difficulty getting the program back in the right direction. If there has been a bright spot for the Lions, it came in last week’s loss against Vienna-Goreville. Edwards County scored their first touchdown of the season in the loss, that being scored by senior running back, Bryton Steber. Steber carried the rock 20 times for 86 yards on the night, for a season total of 164 yards. If Steber doesn’t get the ball, it’s Jackson Hensley who has carried it 13 times for 24 yards. The Lions’ quarterback is Max Gerlach. Gerlach isn’t a bad passer when called upon, he’s attempted 50 pass attempts for 99 yards and just one interception on the year. He is also the Lions’ second leading rusher with 100 yards on 58 rushes. The Lions keep things pretty simple on offense. Two tight ends, one wing back and two running backs. They’re not very big up front, and they don’t have blazing speed in the backfield. All in all, they don’t match up very well against the Bulldogs. The Lions have had some success over the Bulldogs in recent years, defeating CWC in 2018 and the 2021 spring season. Last season’s matchup between these two might be an early preview to how this Friday night may go, as the Bulldogs dominated every aspect of the game en route to a 58-0 win on Homecoming. Calpreps.com predicts the Bulldogs will win this Friday by 62 points. 

If Edwards County has any chance to make it a ball game, they have to find the end zone. The Bulldogs have made it apparent in the first five weeks of the season that they can score a lot of points in a little amount of time. The Lions have to find a way to limit Carmi’s big plays and they have to make some of their own. 

As far as what Carmi-White County has to do to win this game, it’s simple, keep doing what they’ve been doing all year. Isaac King and Draxtyn Aud have been next to impossible to stop all year long, and the Lions defense has struggled to stop similar offenses in 2022. Edwards County has allowed 37.4 points per game this season. If the Bulldogs offensive line can continue to create holes for King, Aud and Andrew Dodgson to run through, this game may get out of hand early. 

The number one goal for Carmi-White County this week is to stay healthy. With just four games left in the regular season, the healthier the Bulldogs are, the better. Draxtyn Aud left last week’s victory against Fairfield with an ankle injury, he will be a game-time decision. 

“Edwards County is very young and inexperienced,” said CWC Head Coach Kurt Simon. “Regardless of the opponent or their record, we have to show up and take care of business.”

Fans will NOT be able to watch the game live on the WRUL Sports YouTube Channel due to the lack of space inside the Edwards County press box, but the game will still be broadcasted on 97.3 FM WRUL and online at WRUL.com. Kickoff is set for 7 PM, the pre-game show will begin at 6:45 PM.

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