Friday, November 9, 2012 —
Union Academy (5-6) at Albemarle (11-1)
The Albemarle Bulldogs, long time members of the Yadkin Valley Conference since 2009 and before 2005, face a Union Academy Cardinals program that will be a conference opponent next year.
Albemarle hosted Union Acad-emy in a scrimmage earlier this season and has used that experience along with film to prepare for Friday’s second-round matchup in the 1A playoffs.
Rasheed Rushing (1,556 yds., 19 TDs) is the Cards’ offensive leader of the team despite having suffered a high ankle sprain early in the season and turf toe against Piedmont.
However, according to Albemarle head coach Danny Akins, teams should not just focus on Rushing alone as the team has weapons, including through the air. The Cardinals have thrown for more than 900 yards as a team with seven touchdowns but Union has been picked off 10 times.
Union Academy runs an offense similar to Albemarle, which head coach Robert Rushing said makes preparing for the Bulldogs a little easier, but added that in a game situation that “things just go out the window.”
Rushing also added that the Cards are looking forward to joining the YVC after playing in what he called “one of the toughest conferences in the state” in the 1A/2A Rocky River Conference.
Albemarle may also be without their second-leading tackler in linebacker Fuquan Wiggins, who suffered a knee injury on a cut block in the second half of the Bulldogs’ 63-0 win over South Robeson last week. His status for Friday is not yet known.
Otherwise, Akins said the Bulldogs are healthy and have had a good week of practice despite distractions like early release this week.
“They have stayed focused for Friday night,” Akins said, adding that the two teams are similar in size and that the game should be a good contest.
Rushing said that the Cardinals had to keep their offense on the field and manage the clock in order to have a chance to win.
“We can’t outrun them; we can only run at them,” Rushing said adding that Union Academy had to keep it simple and “just play football.”