Carlisle lost its 6-2A conference opener last week to Des Arc, 20-12, to drop to 0-3 for the year, but coach Mark Uhiren said he saw a difference.
“We played much better than we have the last couple of games,” he said Tuesday. “I thought we played more like we can play. We’re still not where we need to be. I am not pleased to lose, but at the same time, I saw a little spark as far as discipline and effort.”
The Bison will try to continue that streak Friday when they travel to Marvell-Elaine (0-2, 0-1).
The Mustangs, who have won just four games since 2009, have not scored this season. They lost to Barton, 48-0; and McCrory, 37-0; between two open dates. They were 1-9 last year but returned six starters to run their Multiple offense and six for the 4-3 defensive scheme. They were picked to finish ninth in the league this fall, according to Hooten’s Arkansas Football’s preseason poll of league coaches.
Carlisle won this meeting last year, 50-12.
But Uhiren is leery.
“They’ve got some athletes you’ve got to worry about,” he said. “As usual, you’d hate to lose to them. They struggle and they play hard. They worry me, though. We don’t know what defense we’re going to get. It could be anything. They line up in strange places sometimes, and sometimes that creates a lot of havoc.”
Last week Carlisle fell behind 6-0 but answered with a kickoff return of about 70 yards by sophomore Will Carter.
“But we’re still not playing very smart,” Uhiren said. “We tie the game, then get a 15-yard penalty for excessive celebration. Then they got the ball across the 50 so they’re 40 yards away from scoring. They go in and score and make it 12-6.”
Carlisle tied the game and lost on after the Eagles broke a long run late.
“We drove the field,” Uhiren said. “That’s the only thing really bothering me offensively — we drove up and down the field inside the 20s, and we can’t do that. It does no good to do that except using time and keeping your defense off the field.
“For us to be successful, we’ve got to sustain drives and score. That’s something we’re going to have to work on this week.”
But defensively, Uhiren said the Bison had their best effort of the season.
Sophomore center Kaleb Boyle went out with a knee injury in the first quarter.
“C.J. James had to go in and play center for the first time ever, but he did a good job,” Uhiren said. “That’s a lot of pressure on him, but he held his own.”
He said James would get the nod at center until Boyle returns in about three weeks.