The Carlisle Bison open the 2013 season at home against the McCrory Jaguars on Friday night.
A year ago, the two teams were tied at 8-8 when severe weather stopped the game midway through the first quarter.
"We talk about it every day, finishing those games," first-year coach Brandon Barbaree said, referring to last year’s game. Barbaree was the defensive coordinator under former coach Scott Waymire last year. "Hopefully, our kids are buying into that, creating a culture and a pace of trying to get people to only want to play us that first quarter. We want to be a hard-hitting, disciplined team that plays hard all four quarters and closes out games. Our kids are really excited about this one."
Barbaree said the preseason practices and summer workouts are almost over as the Bison prepare for the season opener.
"This is kind of what they’ve worked for all year," Barbaree said of playing the first game that counts. A week ago, Carlisle played a scrimmage game at Dumas where score was kept. "We’ve had a great offseason and a great summer. We’ve put in all this time and they are just chomping at the bit to play someone and the game be meaningful.
"The Dumas game, you didn’t want to sell out as far as winning the game. This [McCrory] is when it starts counting."
Barbaree said his team had two good days of practice this week on Monday and Tuesday.
"Hopefully, we will again today [Wednesday] and sharpen up tomorrow and we will be ready go on Friday," he said.
Barbaree said the Jaguars are young on the lines and young at the skill positions.
"They lost Logan Best last year," Barbaree said of one of the leading rushers in the state. "They lost quite a bit up front but they do have a senior, Logan Briley, who is their best offensive and defensive lineman. He’s pretty good."
Barbaree said the Jaguars move well up front, which "always gives you problems."
"Most of them are sophomores up front," he said.
Sophomore Cade Campbell starts at quarterback for McCrory.
"He makes some plays but he’s still a sophomore and still hasn’t had the experience of big games of playing under those Friday night lights."
Barbaree said lineman Colton Isbell has been slowed by an ankle injury this week and has not practiced, trying to get the swelling out.
"I think he will be fine, offensively," Barbaree said. "Other than that, everybody else is healthy."
For Barbaree, this is his first game as head coach at Carlisle. He was previously the head coach at Drew Central and England, prior to coming to Carlisle a year ago as an assistant.
"I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have butterflies and all that other stuff," he said. "That’s part of it. Being competitive and preaching to these guys about being competitive, I want to see how we do and see how the kids are going to react on Friday nights when adversity hits. Hopefully, we will come out with a ‘W.’"
Game time is 7 p.m.
The Carlisle Junior Bison will open the season tonight against Pulaski Academy at Rector Field in Little Rock.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.