WARNER ROBINS -- Houston County silenced a few critics and proved its offense wasn’t just a one-dimensional attack as the Bears imposed their will along the line of scrimmage and ran for more than 200 yards in a 34-14 victory over a good Warner Robins team last week.
The No. 2 ranked Bears (4-0, 3-0 Region 2-AAAAA) came out intent on running the football, tallying 40 attempts on the ground to just 22 through the air in the region win.
“I think (running the football) was a plan we came into the game with,” Houston County head coach Von Lassiter said. “We knew we had to run to be successful against a good football team. I’m just really proud of our kids that they stepped up to the challenge and got it done. We were able to throw the ball, too, but it was nice to finally be able to consistently run the ball.”
Houston County’s backfield alongside quarterback Jake Fromm boasts a two-pronged attack with running backs Javon West and Chris Brinson. West has carried the ball 42 times, while Brinson has 41 carries. Each player brings a different running style and a different body type to the Bears’ offense.
“Both of those guys are good players and good kids,” Lassiter said. “They’re fun to coach, and they’re both different. Javon is a smaller, more quicker guy, and he never gets squared up. Chris is a powerful kid that can really move in open spaces. While they’re different, at times they’re alike, especially at the point of contact.”
Fortunately for the Houston County coaching staff, refocusing after the big rivalry win over the Demons shouldn’t be that difficult with Lakeside-Evans (2-2, 2-1) visiting McConnell-Talbert Stadium on Friday.
The Panthers dealt the Bears one of only two regular-season losses a year ago in a 24-20 decision.
“We’ve never beaten (Lakeside) in school history,” Lassiter said. “We’re 0-3 against them, so hopefully our guys will get over the hangover from last week’s win and move on to an opponent that is just as big of a threat. We really want to beat them.”
Despite the history, this is a different Lakeside program.
The Panthers have a first-year head coach in Steve Hibbits, and they were hit hard by graduation. Defensive back Stephen Houzah, who was the 2014 Region 2-AAAAA defensive player of the year, now stars for Mercer, while the highly recruited Rashad Roundtree has moved on to Georgia.
“The guys that they graduated were a lot of Division I players,” Lassiter said. “Good players make all of us look really good, but they’ve still got plenty of players to go around that can play really well. It is a lot nicer not looking over there at Roundtree and Houzah in the secondary.”
The Bears hope to get some plays from their multitude of Division I prospects against the Panthers and stay perfect on the season by excelling at the little things Friday. Houston County did well last week against the Demons by winning the turnover battle two to one and holding Warner Robins to just 13 first downs.
“We can’t have any turnovers, and we have to be able to get off of the field on third down,” Lassiter said. “If we do those two things, then I think we’ll be fine. We also need to win special teams and last year we didn’t do that.”
Elsewhere in Region 2-AAAAA, Northside (4-0, 3-0) will also try to stay unbeaten when it visits Greenbrier (1-3, 0-3), while Jones County and Warner Robins look to rebound and stay in the hunt for the region title. The Greyhounds (3-1, 2-1) travel to Grovetown (3-1, 2-1) with Warner Robins (3-1-2-1) waiting until Saturday to host Richmond Academy (1-3, 1-2).