As with any off week, Laurence Manning Academy head coach Robbie Briggs used the time off to evaluate his team, work on fundamentals and special teams and prepare for what's next.
That just happens to be defending SCISA 3A state champion Ben …
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That just happens to be defending SCISA 3A state champion Ben Lippen.
The time off has helped, although several key members of the Swampcats are still a few weeks away from returning, Briggs said.
"Hopefully they'll be back in another two weeks," he said. "We're building depth while Garrett Black and Grayson Gamble and those guys are out.
"But Ben Lippen will be a tremendous test."
Briggs is hoping injuries don't play as much of a part in the outcome of this game as they did last year. The Falcons eked out a 28-27 victory after LMA went for a 2-point conversion at the end of the game and failed.
"We had two quarterbacks out and two running backs out," Briggs said. "We had a chance to win and we decided to go for two instead of trying to survive in overtime. But we played well against them and it's a good matchup for us. Our kids are excited to play them."
The defending champs are 3-2 overall, but 3-1 in SCISA 3A play. The Swampcats are 4-1 and 2-1. The Falcons have won two in a row and are outscoring opponents by 50 points overall so far.
With the off week, Briggs was able to take in BL's game against Pinewood Prep last Friday and was impressed by what he saw.
"Their running back (Kyle Wright) is as good as I've seen," he said. "He can run inside and outside. Their quarterback (Trad Beatty) throws as good of a ball as I've seen in SCISA in the last five years. They've got multiple slot receivers and wide receivers that do a great job.
"Their offensive line outweighs us by about 60 pounds a man."
Both Wright and Beatty are commitments to Temple University. Beatty has been out recently after dealing with an injury, but looked sharp in Ben Lippen's 55-21 victory over Pinewood Prep last week, Briggs added.
"They make you defend the whole field," he said. "If we don't tackle well in one-on-one situations, they'll score 70 points on us. We just have to do our jobs and tackle well and make it a game. If we don't, then they can score points fast."
The Swampcats can as well and have outscored opponents 227-84 this season. They've only allowed more than 21 points once in a 35-21 loss to Hammond.
"We've been able to spread the ball around a little more this year, so I'm pleased with that," Briggs said. "Of course (wide receiver) Taylor Lee is a great player and its been running back by committee with Garrett out. Our offensive line is young, but we're really starting to gel a little bit. Shane Stephens, JT Stanley, JD Burroughs, Jay Godwin and Kodie Reaves - I've really been pleased with those guys and it all starts up front for us.
"...We've just got to not turn the ball over, play well on third downs and limit their possessions. If we do that, we'll be ok."
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