Rockets heading to Madison Central

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By Todd Martin

After last Friday's showing at Eastern, SCHS Coach Todd Shipley is looking for a better effort at district foe Madison Central tonight at 7:30.

"We have to be better than last week," he said. "We need to get off blocks and make tackles."

This week won't be an easy task for the Rockets (0-7, 0-2). In Shelby's last chance to win a district game, the Indians (6-1, 1-1) will feature a potent running attack with two explosive runners.

"Keshawn Simpson is a man among boys," Shipley said. "And Isaiah Kavanaugh is as explosive a runner as we'll see."

The positive part of facing a team that runs the ball as much as the Madison Central is game planning. The Indians are not much of a passing team. In fact, the team hasn't completed more than seven passes in a game, and against George Rogers Clark, Madison Central completed just one out of 11 passes while winning, 49-35.

"They want to run, and that's about it," Shipley said. "They passed for just 18 yards against George Rogers Clark and had an interception. But they ran for about 350 yards and won the game."

Shipley said the Rockets will load the defensive front against Madison Central and hopefully try to contain Simpson and Kavanaugh.

"Simpson is the workhorse for them, but you have to watch out for both," he said. "Against Tates Creek Kavanaugh had 155 yards on just five carries, so we really have to know where he is. Their offense is very similar to George Rogers Clark, but they also want to spread you out and run it up the middle with the fullback. And he's a big son of a gun."

Offensively, the Rockets will likely go back to the power running game they put into place before last week's game at Eastern. However, if the defense can't slow down Madison Central, the Rockets will be back to the Spread offense, looking to score quickly.

"We were very pleased with the power running game last week," Shipley said. "I thought it looked good for the short amount of time we had to work on it."

Nigel Beach, a 6-foot-3, 233-pound junior, led the Rockets with 48 yards rushing out of the power attack, but nearly all of those yards came on the first two possessions.

The Rockets will get another weapon back on offense this week with the return of sophomore wide receiver Ben Axline from a broken collarbone. Shipley said Axline has been trying to stay in shape throughout the injury, and he should be able to go.

"He's going to give us another target to use," he said. "We just have to get him worked back into the offense."

After senior Matt Page's solid effort last week at quarterback (15-of-24 for 196 yards and two TDs with three interceptions), Shipley said Page should be back under center this week.

"He had a very good game last week, made some good decisions, and took control as the quarterback," Shipley said. "I'd say we'll still see him this week."