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The Centennial Cougars will look to take down Clarksville Northeast after falling to the Eagles in each of the past two contests.

The Centennial Cougars have struggled in their past two matchups against the Clarksville Northeast Eagles.

In 2012, the Eagles knocked the Cougars out of the playoffs with a 49-34 win. They then beat CHS 48-31 in last season’s opener.

“We haven’t been able to stop their run and they have just flat out wanted it more than we have,” said Centennial head coach Brian Rector. “We’re going to have to increase our want-to quite a bit and stop the run if we want to have a chance against these guys.”

Centennial’s run defense will be at a disadvantage with junior inside linebacker Tyrel Dodson missing the game due to an undisclosed injury.

Centennial will look to get RB Deon Sanders (2) rolling early on Friday

The Cougars will look for Hooper Mills to step up in his place at inside backer.

He will have plenty of help in the front-seven with senior Bryce Whitman and junior Dylan Phillips on the d-line.

Overall, if CHS is going to slow down the Northeast option attack, they have to get back to the basics.

“I hate to be this blunt and vanilla, but we have to tackle in order to stop them,” Rector said. “We’ve just missed way too many tackles on these guys in the past. When you do that, you’re not going to be able to beat any offense. So, we have to make tackles in space. We have to clog the holes up in the line of scrimmage so they’re not so big to run through.”

The CHS offense will look to get senior running back Deon Sanders (1,493 rush yards, 16 TDs) rolling as they look to make their presence known on the ground.

“We have to be able to run the ball,” Rector said. “The guys up front for Northeast present really big problems in allowing teams to do that. They have four gigantic defensive linemen that play really well. We have to figure out a way to run the football inside, outside and all over the place.”

When the Cougars aren’t pounding the rock, they’ll look to establish the passing game with senior quarterbacks Owen Roth and Connor Rietveld.

They’re top weapon through the air will be senior receiver and Missouri football commit Emanuel Hall.

Last season, Hall gained 564 receiving yards, 283 rushing yards and 10 total touchdowns.

All in all, Rector and the Cougars are just glad to finally get back to the regular season.

“We were pretty excited to end the preseason and get out of the grind,” Rector said. There’s probably a little excitement throughout the area to get the season underway. No matter what, you always have a little doubt, like ‘hey, did I get everything covered?'”

Sam McGaw is the sports editor for Franklin Home Page. Email him at [email protected]. You can also follow him on Twitter @SamMcGawSports.