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By Hartsville Vidette Staff Reporter

Perhaps the most talented team in the Mid-South Conference will make a stop at Cumberland’s Lindsey Donnell Stadium today on its road to the NAIA playoffs.
No. 10 Bethel will try to use Cumberland’s Senior Day as a stepping stone toward a possible conference championship and first-round home playoff game.
“They’ve got a very good football team, a very athletic team,” Cumberland coach Dewayne Alexander said of the Wildcats (7-2 overall, 5-1 MSC, 3-0 West Division). “They have a lot of seniors in place.”
Like Cumberland, Bethel likes to run the football with tailbacks Adrian Smith, who rushed for over 200 yards in a 56-34 win over Lambuth last week, and Terrance Bell.
“They have two talented tailbacks,” Alexander said. “They like to give the ball to those guys. They throw 10-12-15 passes a game. They don’t throw the football a lot. They’re a power-running team. They’ll also spread out and do some things. But they really like to give it to their tailbacks.
“They got talent everywhere but their tailbacks make them go.”
The Wildcats are aggressive on defense.
“They run to the football as good as anybody we’ve seen,” Alexander said. “They’re very athletic at the skill positions. An experienced secondary and very active linebackers are what make their defense.
“They have good recovery ability.”
And don’t forget their special teams.
“Their kick-return game, because of the skill players they have, they have some guys who are big threats to return kicks,” Alexander said.
The Wildcats were upset by the University of the Cumberlands earlier this season for their only conference loss. Alexander would like Cumberland to use the Cumberlands’ formula in today’s 1:30 p.m. game.
“They were able to keep Bethel on the sideline, keep their skill players on the sideline,” Alexander said. “The key for success is for us to find a way to have a ballgame where we don’t turn the football over. We need to cause some turnovers on their side and we need to find a way to sustain some drives and run the clock and shorten the game.
“If we do that I think we’ll have an opportunity to win.”
Cumberland comes in 3-5, 2-4, 1-2 with two games remaining. The Bulldogs will close the season at Belhaven next Saturday.
“We’ve got two football games to continue to try to find a way to improve our football team,” Alexander said. “We were all disappointed with the outcome of the Shorter game (a 30-10 loss Oct. 26).”
Fullback Brandon Howard suffered a neck injury at Shorter and went to a Rome, Ga. hospital for tests. Alexander said Howard is recovering from the injury and will be able to play again, but not this year. Linebacker Matt Boles of Lebanon sprained an ankle at Shorter and is also finished for the season.
The Bulldogs will have fullback Joseph Teo back this week. Linebacker Aaron Cothran sprained his ankle at Shorter which will leave him at less than full speed for his home finale.
Alexander said senior Tyler McChurch of Friendship Christian and freshmen Joe Paul Tackett and Jamie Vaughn will see the bulk of the time at linebacker.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 17 or by e-mail at [email protected].