Rosepine head coach Johnny Cryer knows, despite its record, Vinton will test the defense of his team.

The Lions are 1-3 on the year, but their schedule has been tough with their opponents' combined record being 14-6 with its last three opponents all having four wins.

"This is a tough matchup for us because they're a run, grind it out team," Cryer said. "They've got great athletes and four different running backs that they run in there. They're double tight, double wing so it's hard to find the ball. It doesn't help when one of the guys (Tony St. Julien) already has four or five SEC offers. They've played good people, and that's one of the reason they're 1-3. They're a tough opponent for us because of who they've played versus who we've played. I've told the kids all week that they've played better teams than us. They've got 12 turnovers in the last three games we've seen on tape. Right now, they're just snake bit with turnovers. We're going to need some of them to stay in the game, because they were one of the preseason picks to win the district. It's going to be a tough opponent."

St. Julien is 4-star recruit, according to, and although he has not got a lot of touches this year, Cryer knows that he is a weapon once he gets the ball in his hands.

"He hasn't touched the ball but just 29 times this year, but he's got amazing speed," Cryer said. "

He's a 4.4 guy and anytime you get offers from the SEC, you know he can run. They use him as a receiver and a running back but he plays every snap on defense. He's just a tough kid and has good size. If he gets a step on us, we won't be able to catch him. He's a big threat but they use three other backs that can run to."

To stop the running attack, the Eagles (4-1) defensive line will need to play disciplined technique to avoid getting washed out by pulling linemen and having running backs going around them.

"The last several weeks, we've told our linemen to pin their ears back and go after the quarterback," Cryer said. "This week is different, if you get up the field against Vinton, you'll get burned. They're looking for creases, so we have to rely on our front four to do a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage and let our safeties and linebackers fit and make tackles. The strength of our defense is our front four.

"They've moved the ball on everyone we've seen but they've just been getting into the redzone and fumble. They've had some hard luck, and hopefully, we can create some turnovers."

On offense, the Eagles will do what it has done all season: run the ball.

The Rosepine offense is led by running back Seth Shirley, who put up 138 yards and four touchdowns last week. Shirley has received a lot of touches this season and will be leaned on to open up the offense.

"It's definitely worth it because I get better with every run I get," Shirley said. "It's been hard at points but I keep working at it.

"We're going to work hard as team and be happy after the game, win or lose."

Seth Ducote passed for two touchdowns last week and rushed for two scores. The combination of Shirley, Ducote and fullback Dalton McCallon keep defenses focused between the tackles but allows Cryer to open up the playbook at certain points of the game.

"When you run the football, it opens up the field," Cryer said. "We have a quarterback that can run and throw and receivers that can catch and run. We're still a run-oriented team, but last week, we were 7-for-9 throwing the football. That helps us out because people are loading the box against us and are wanting us to throw."

Although Rosepine is off to a good start, the schedule gets tougher as the season goes on.

"It's great to see these kids win some football games," Cryer said. "This senior class won one football coming into this year. For us to have four wins right now, it's a blessing. We're still learning to win football games. We're not a top-5 football team in 2A by any means. The one thing that are kids are doing is competing every week and giving themselves a chance to win in the fourth quarter. These next five weeks are going to be tough."