Meridian Star

Sports

September 26, 2013

Roundup: Trojans hope to rebound

(Continued)

MERIDIAN —     After upsetting 4A public school Northeast Lauderdale, the Lamar School football team heads back into district play as the Raiders (4-1) travel to Copiah Academy tonight at 7.pm.

    With only four playoff slots available in MAIS AAA Division II, Barnes said each one of the Raiders' district games will have a playoff-like feel.

    “We have a lot of momentum, and we just got to keep that going,” Barnes said. “We can't let anything happen these next two weeks. The only loss we have in our division is Jackson Prep, and I feel all the schools in our division will lose to them.”

    While Copiah Academy (1-4) might not look like a threat to Lamar (4-1), Barnes warned his players not to lose focus on the long trip down to Gallman.

    “They are a team that hasn't had very much success, and we are going down there,” Barnes said. “Any time you get in that situation, the key is coming out, playing well and not giving them any momentum. If you give them some chances and they take advantage of it, all of a sudden it opens the flood gates.”

    Despite throwing the ball 26 times against Northeast last week, Barnes said he plans to keep his offense balanced and keep defenses guessing.

    “We just have to keep people off balance,” he said.

Russell Christian back on track

    A couple of wins have made all the difference for head coach Nate Ballard and the Russell Christian Warriors.

    RCA (2-2) comes into tonight's home matchup against Porter's Chapel Academy fresh off a 32-14 win over Heidelberg Academy. Many wrote off the Warriors after back-to-back blowout losses to start the season. Coming off a bye week, Ballard now has his team in position to be above .500 for the first time this season.

    “We feel real confident in what we are doing offensively now,” Ballard said. “Defensively , we still have some things to work out in some of our pass coverages, but we feel good about it.”

    The Warriors will need to step up that pass coverage in a hurry as Porter's Chapel will look to utilize its short-passing game in order to get the ball in the hands of their speedy athletes. Despite the Eagles' speed, Ballard is confident in his own group of athletes. The Warriors have shown ability to keep up with fast teams previously this season.

    “I feel like we have the athletes to keep up with Porter's Chapel.” Ballard said.

    Ballard said he hopes to establish a run game by getting senior running back Arik Washington the ball early on in the game.

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