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Alta plays for driver's seat

Thursday, October 17, 2002

District race

It isn't for the district title. One game would do Alta no good if it doesn't win the other two games left on its schedule.

That's the scenario when Alta travels to Akron to take on third-ranked Akron-Westfield on Friday.

Akron-Westfield is 6-0 overall and 4-0 in the district. Alta is 5-1 and 3-1 in the district.

"Obviously, it's a big game for both teams," Alta coach Kevin Hammer said. "They're No. 1 and we're No. 2 in the district. The winner has the upper hand. We would have to win out to win the district. They can still suffer one loss and still have a chance of winning the district. This isn't for the district title because we need to win all three of our games."

Akron-Westfield will be the toughest challenge to date for the Cyclones.

"It looks like it," Hammer said. "They're very well-balanced offensively and they have real good size up front with their offensive line. They have a really good back in Cory Derocher. He's one of the top backs in our district. They can run him and also throw the ball. They have some wideouts with good speed."

"They like to establish the run first and go off that, but they're not afraid to put it up at any point in the game," Hammer added.

Alta will need to slow down Derocher in order to be successful on defense.

"For us defensively, I don't know if you can shut Derocher down, but we have to contain him," Hammer said. "Our goal is to keep him around 100 yards rushing and put them in situations where they have to throw where we can get some sacks or interceptions."

"We have to make sure he gets stopped before he gets a head of steam going," Hammer added. "We have to make sure our linebackers are playing good assignment defense and not overpursuing. We also need to tackle well."

Alta's game plan won't deviate any just because it is up against a tough defense.

"For us we have to keep our offense on the field," Hammer said. "That might be our best defense. We have to sustain drives and put points on the board when we get in the red zone. We have to score when given the opportunity."

"We've had success running the football, so that's going to be our main focus ... to control the line of scrimmage and move the football on the ground," Hammer added. "The team that has the ability to run the football will have a good opportunity to win."



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