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Clarke Central at Winder-Barrow preview

Tyler Junius

Tyler Junius

Clarke Central Gladiators (8-AAAAA)

Coach: Ahern Self

Record: 5-3, 4-2 region

Last week: Lost to Flowery Branch 37-7

Winder-Barrow Bulldoggs (8-AAAAA)

Coach: David Wagner

Record: 1-7, 0-6 region

Last week: Lost to Cedar Shoals 27-6

Perhaps one of the biggest problems for the Bulldoggs in recent weeks has been stopping the opposition’s ground game.

Tightening up the run defense has been a point of emphasis for coach David Wagner and his staff this week in practice.

“We’re definitely committed to stopping the run,” Wagner said. “That’s the scheme we’ve laid out there. If you look the last couple of weeks, we’ve giving up 40 yards passing (to Cedar Shoals) and 14 yards passing (against Loganville). But we also gave up 250 to 300 yards rushing.”

Stopping the run won’t be easy against a Clarke Central team that features shifty running back Jaqua Daniels, who set a school record with five TD runs earlier this season against Apalachee. So, the Bulldoggs must look to veterans like lineman Tyler Junius to provide leadership for the young defense to combat the Gladiators’ ground game.

“We’ve been competitive in almost every game,” Wagner said. “We have to make (the younger players) understand that they’ve been going toe-to-toe with some big-time players. A lot of our guys don’t even have learner’s permits yet, but they’ve matured a lot this season.”

Last meeting: Clarke Central won 38-7 last year

Directions to Winder-Barrow High School: From Ga. Highway 316 east, go left on Highway 81 into Winder, turn left at third light onto Candler Street and stadium is about one-tenth mile on the right.