Matt McClure: tough district prepared Atlanta Rabbits for playoff push

Atlanta Rabbits squeaked by Tatum
ATLANTA — Atlanta Rabbits head football coach Matt McClure believes the challenging 4A-2 Region II District 7 schedule prepared his team for the playoffs.
The Rabbs take on the Jasper Bulldogs Friday at 7:30 p.m. on KPYN 900 AM/95.5 FM with Bubba Kirkland and Rick Blackwood on the call from Bulldog Stadium in Carthage.
“We feel like we’ve been playing in the postseason for a while just because of the urgency that you have game in and game out,” McClure said. “There’s not a game in there that you have to wait to get to that you think you can win. All the games are 50-50 and you have to bring your A-game all the time. That’s kind of how it is in the playoffs. You’ve got to be ready to go, got to bring your A-game all the time. So, I think we’re kind of conditioned to do that being in the tough district that we’re in.”
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Junior quarterback Andrew Samples was instrumental with his four touchdowns rushing and four touchdowns through the air to lead the Rabbs past Spring Hill in a 56-49 shootout in the season finale. This followed a slobber-knocker 45-30 loss at Gilmer and a 34-16 win over Gladwater at Rabbit Stadium.
“It’s been a chore from the kickoff against Pittsburg to the last bit against Spring Hill,” said McClure. “We’re healthy for the most part, but we’re limping around a little from soreness and playing the schedule that we’ve been playing.”
The Bulldogs bring a 7-2 record with a 4-0 district mark into the match-up. Jasper’s offense runs a hybrid of a Wing-T and Slot-T offense with two-tight end sets. The Rabbs’ challenge will be in lining up correctly and getting off the ball aggressively up front.
Like Atlanta, Jasper is a 3-4 team.
Said McClure: “They do play man-to-man in the secondary in the film that we’ve seen. And very, very active and very, very aggressive.”

There is no next week

Coach McClure doesn’t have to elucidate what the consequences are for his players as to the finality of the postseason.

“The kids know what’s at stake,” said McClure. “We’ve played, since I’ve been here, played in about 13 playoff games and four rounds deep two years in a row. So, we have experience of making deep runs and kind of know what it takes. So, right now, we’re trying to make sure everybody is healthy so we can get everybody to the game so that we have all hands on deck.”

Atlanta would play the winner of Celina-Ferris upon a victory over Jasper.