Last season Waynesville traveled to Lebanon and lost to the Yellow Jackets 49-30 in a tough contest. This season Waynesville once again returns to Lebanon and is looking for a much different outcome.
“They (Lebanon) are a very, very explosive football team, they run the spread and they throw the ball very well,” said Waynesville head coach Rick Vernon. “(With) this team you have to gear up for the pass and gear up for just hard nosed football.”
Last season Lebanon rushed for 507 yards against the Tigers and only threw three passes. Lebanon senior running back Brock West ran for 238 yards and two touchdowns against Waynesville and last week ran for 198 yards and three touchdowns against Rolla.
Waynesville passed for 359 yards against Lebanon last season but James Holler has graduated and is no longer behind center.
Waynesville ran the ball more than they passed it against West Plains last Friday, but that does not mean Waynesville won't be throwing the ball tonight against Lebanon.
Vernon said that Waynesville's passing game plan changes from week to week and even though they ran the ball more last week, it doesn't mean that the Tigers cannot throw it.
“Going into week one, we really wanted to work on our running game,” said Vernon “We feel that if we need to go out and throw the ball we have quarterbacks that can do that and we have receivers that can catch.”
One of those receivers, senior Aren Martin, had 178 yards against Lebanon last season and could be a factor in tonight's game. However, in week one he only had one pass thrown in his direction, and Waynesville only completed five passes in the game.
The Tigers focused on running the ball in week one and were able to rack up 270 yards against West Plains. Vernon hopes to continue that tonight against Lebanon.
“We feel that it is a big thing for us and we have worked very hard on that and we put in a few extra plays that will hopefully work against their defense,” said Vernon.
Waynesville will also need to cut down on penalties and turnovers as they had nine penalties for 70 yards and three turnovers, two of which occurred inside their own 15 yard line, last week against West Plains.
Waynesville and Lebanon will kick off at 7:00 p.m. tonight.