When the lights came back on at Mustang Mountain last week, Central Arkansas Christian woke up, coach Tommy Shoemaker said.
His Mustangs were sluggish in a 28-6 win over Little Rock McClellan that moved them to 2-0. They’ll play at Little Rock Christian (1-1) on Friday.
CAC was up 14-6 when a power outage on one half of the field led to a 15-minute delay.
“After that we played pretty good,” Shoemaker said. “We moved the ball better and played better on defense the rest of the game. We rebounded.”
The Mustangs don’t need a slow start this week against the Warriors.
“I hope we’ll do a little better job of preparing ourselves,” Shoemaker said. “They have a good ball team. It’s going to be a big challenge for us.”
A year after going 3-5, tied for fifth in the 5A-Central, the Warriors have a new coach in Jeff Weaver. He was offensive coordinator at Greenwood, one of the best programs in the state, prior to spending the last four years at Mena, where he took the Bearcats to the playoffs the last three years.
The Warriors returned seven starters on offense and six on defense. They’ll run a Spread offense and a 4-3 defensive scheme.
Little Rock Christian, which has fielded football for just 12 years, has won just nine games since 2009. But they have gone to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs.
This fall the Warriors are 1-1 after splitting a couple of close games. They beat Hot Springs Lakeside in the opener, 39-35; and fell at White Hall last week, 31-28.
Shoemaker said he was not surprised by either score.
“I thought (Lakeside) would be a really close game, and it was, and I thought their game with White Hall would be really close,” he said. “They came out on the good end in one of them and on the short end in the other, but they played well in both and had a chance to win.”
CAC and Little Rock Christian didn’t play last year after their game in Week 3 was canceled just before kickoff after a deluge left knee-deep water on the sidelines at Mustang Mountain.
“I know they have some more experienced linemen back,” Shoemaker said of the 2013 Warriors. “Jeff’s doing a good job there. They’re running they offense they run at Greenwood. Defensively, they’re a little different.”
He has not faced Weaver before.
“I have an idea what he’ll be doing, but you never know until you get some film,” he said.
The key for the Mustangs this week is to be mentally prepared to play.
Against McClellan last week, Shoemaker said the defense handled things until the offense woke up.
“We played pretty well on defense, so it wasn’t like we were ever in trouble, but we certainly didn’t play our best on offense,” he said. “It was just one of those nights when we couldn’t get in a rhythm offensively, and we turned the ball over three times. We made a lot of mistakes that kept them in the game and gave them life. But they had a hard time consistently moving the ball.”
Jack Partlow ran a punt back for a touchdown. Running back Braylon Harris ran for two TDs, and quarterback Jack Thomas kept for another.
“We just have to do a better job of mentally preparing ourselves to play,” Shoemaker said. “That’s on all of us — coaches and players. We’ve got to do the little things to get ready.
“I don’t know if anybody ever knows what goes on with kids. It could’ve been a lot of different t things last week, but at the end of the day we weren’t ready to play, and we’ve got to do a better job of that.”