The Bradwell Institute Tigers have a big night ahead as they host Johnson at Olvey Field.
First, it’s senior night and BI’s last home game of the season. Second, it’s the Tigers’ last chance to hold onto a post-season playoff spot.
Historically, the Tigers have defeated the Atomsmashers in their last six games. But Johnson hired a new coach last season and he turned the team around, transforming a three-year losing streak to a 4-4 overall and 2-3 season this year."They are fast they have speed everywhere even in the interior," Tiger coach Jim Walsh said of the Smashers. "Secondly, they try and get the ball to their athletes so they’ll come out in the lone back, one back, lonesome pole cat formations and they’ll try and spread us out to let their athletes run or throw the ball. They’ll have eight in the box all the time. They’re not one of the most physical teams we’ve seen this year but they’ll be one of the fastest we’ve seen."
But the Tigers are prepared to be just as versatile. Last week against Beach, they opened their play book and called new numbers to a rejuvenated group of players. The passing game played a role in their 41-14 defeat of the Bulldogs as the offense spread the ball and gained yards. Strong offensive drives kept the defensive fresh and they were able to shut down opponent Simon Heyward’s running and passing game.
"We are slowly getting better," Walsh said of his players’ injuries and playing skills. "It’s good to be getting these guys back. We’ve slowed down the injuries and getting our guys back and that is definitely helping us toward the tail end of the season."
Last week’s defensive play of the game came from David Swinford, who snatched the ball from Heyward’s hands before he was down, getting a fumble recovery and setting up a Wilson Brown touchdown. Swinford has 43 solo tackles for the season and 22 assists. Darvean Herron leads the defense with 60 solo tackles and 18 assists. Delrish Moore has 28 solos and 16 assists to date.
The Tigers must win and stay healthy to face the Wildcats in Camden County next week.
"We have to play heads-up football," Walsh said.