Heroes look to rebound

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 11, 2008

HUNTINGTON — The Huntington Heroes will look to rebound from their first loss of the season as they host the Erie RiverRats tonight at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in an American Indoor Football Association game.

Last week, the Heroes went into halftime with a 28-16 lead over the Reading Express. That lead would not last as the Express outscored the Heroes 41-10 in the second half to run away with a 57-38 victory.

“We need to realize we need to capitalize every chance we get,” said Heroes head coach Teddy Keaton. “You can’t drop touchdown passes or make unnecessary penalties and think you can win.”

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Keaton looks for his team to put last week behind them and rebound from the loss.

“Our team’s work ethic was better this week,” said Keaton. “They were more focused in our film study and practices.”

Offensively the Riverrats will look to use the arm of Jarrod Highberger at quarterback. Highberger was 15 of 32 for 196 yards and 3 touchdown passes in last Monday’s loss to Reading.

“He’s a left hander who likes to roll with the pocket,” said Keaton.

Highberger’s targets will be Darmel Whitfield, Brandon Jackson, and David Dinkins.

Whitfield leads the team with 15 receptions for 228 yards and four touchdowns.

Dinkins, who stated out as the quarterback for Erie, was moved to wide reciver to give the Erie offense more speed there.

“They moved (Dinkins) to get a speed guy at the receiver position, and now they got a pocket passer to throw to them,” said Keaton.

While Highberger appears to be the starter, Keaton still thinks that there’s a possibility that Dinkins could make an appearance under center.

“Because of how Reading’s quarterback did so well scrambling one us, I feel that we might see him a couple times to keep us off balance,” said Keaton.

Erie’s defense will be lead by Javon Johnson, who leads the team in tackles. Johnson was with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006 and most recently played with Saskatchewan of the Canadian Football League last season.

“(Johnson) is the best player on their team,” said Keaton. “The Columbus coach told me he was like a hawk, because he can see the whole field so well.”

The Heroes offensive coordinator Kenny Johnson will look for Darnell Kennedy to improve his performance in this week’s match up.

“Darnell’s been getting better each week,” said Johnson. “He’s starting to see the field better and suggesting plays to me now.”

Defensively, the Heroes have made some adjustments to stop the possible duel threat at the Erie quarterback position.

“We made adjustments this week, especially at linebacker,” said Keaton. “Our rush will have to be ready for both.”

Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.