Capitol, Independence into power football

Capitol High and Independence High don’t have a wealth of knowledge about each other.

Yet the two schools seemingly have plenty in common as they prepare to open the high school football season at 7 p.m. Thursday with a game at Memorial Stadium.

It will be all about power football and the ability to minimize mistakes for Class 2A Capitol and 3A Independence.

“They’re definitely a power football team that wants to run the ball first,” Capitol coach Claude Coleman said. “And so are we.

“Given the fact that there’s a chance of rain (Thursday) night, it’s going to make running the ball even more important.”

The teams appear to have little in common at first glance. Independence was 5-5 a year ago and just missed the playoffs.

The Tigers have a three-year starter at running back in 5-foot-10, 240-pound Shannon Cage.

Capitol is coming off a 3-8 season last year. Coleman took over at midseason, changed the Lions offense to a power running game that helped the team to the playoffs.

Running back Jamar Robertson ran for 135 yards in last week’s 27-15 jamboree win over 1A Madison Prep.

Thursday’s game marks the first time Independence has played at Memorial under coach Keith Carona, who looks for improvement from last week’s 26-6 jamboree loss to 5A Ponchatoula.

“We felt like a lot of the mistakes we made last week were ones we can correct,” Carona said. “They got behind on coverages a couple of times, and we block in the back that nullified a big play.

“People talk about how important cutting down mistakes is, and it’s true, especially early in the year because you see more of the them. Definitely, the team that makes the fewest mistakes will have the advantage. I expect it to be a good, competitive game. We got the chance to see Capitol this summer and were impressed. They may not have a lot of depth, but they’re talented.”

Coleman admits depth will be a challenge for the Lions, who will dress between 30 and 40 players. Though Independence’s numbers are down, the Tigers are expected to dress 52.

“We’ve got about five guys who will be playing both ways,” Coleman said. “How they handle that will be important, because it’s a physical and a mental thing. We need to help those guys out by running the ball ourselves and controlling the line of scrimmage. I’ll take my skill guys and match them against anybody in the state. We’re confident, but we need to execute.”