With two weeks left in the regular season, the Kemper County football team is gearing up for the biggest match up to date. Welcoming Louisville to DeKalb isn't just loaded because of the visiting Wildcats' strength, record and potentional, but a year ago Kemper head coach Chris Jones would have been riding the bus to this game.
Jones is excited. He knows Louisville inside and out, and said that if they are going to get beat this season, his knowledge of the program and the guys he use to coach could be the tools to do it.
"I would love for us to upset Louisville," Jones said. "With them being ranked No. 7 in the state and predicted to win the state championship and all, I would love to upset those guys … They are human, they make mistakes. We gotta capitalize on their mistakes to have a chance."
Headed into the match up, Kemper is 7-2, 2-1. They've already matched a program-most seven wins, but to push it, will need another big game from the same combo of guys he's called on all season – Kelvin Bourrage, DJ Clayton, Otis Cross and Devontae Vickers.
"If anyone can beat them, right now I think we can from me knowing [Louisville,]" Jones said.
Rams look to build off big win
With a district loss under their belts and their backs against the wall the Kemper Academy Rams needed to respond — and boy did they ever.
Kemper Academy blew out Calhoun Academy in Week 9, 68-14, to take possession of second place in the Mississippi Association of Independent School’s District 7-A.
“We played over our heads,” KA head coach Pete McClesky said. “We knew we were backed up against the wall. If we didn’t beat Calhoun, we weren’t going to go to the playoffs. I think the kids were fired up when they came out.”
Quarterback Dustin Davis was a perfect 18-for-18 on the night passing while. Cole Thomas ended the night with 175 receiving yards and four touchdowns in the air, while Tyler Jowers took the ball 10 times for 100 yards.
McClesky said the win should provide the confidence his team needs going forward. However, he was quick to note that the Rams have little room for error here on out and will have to take each opponent seriously.
This week Kemper Academy (5-3, 2-1) will travel to Strider Academy (1-7, 0-4). With only two teams advancing to the playoffs McClesky said his team will treat the matchup as a playoff game.
“We are going to have to play ball,” McClesky said. “They are not that bad of a ball club.”
Cougars face must-win game
The Newton County football team escaped a must-win game with a victory in Week 8, now they have to do it again to salvage playoff hopes.
The Cougars will travel to Quitman on Friday night, but as the season has gone, after regaining someone from injury, another goes down. This week, they'll be out starting quarterback Jacob Edwards with an ankle injury.
Edwards started last week's game and only got two complete passes off before being taken down awkwardly on a tackle. But also similar to form, another Cougar stepped up. Freshman quarterback Ethan McMullan finished the game 6-of-12 for 131 yards for one touchdown and one interception. He'll get the start on Friday night.
"He's really, probably our third, fourth string quarterback for us, because we had other guys hurt too," Cougar head coach Jackie Williamson said. "He's a very smart kid. He controlled the offense, ran when we needed to. We were really impressed. He did enough to give us a chance to win."
As for the matchup with Panthers, Williamson said his team is going to need a find away to slow them down.
"Their defensive line is probably the best we've seen this year," he said. "[Overall,] they can run, they are fast. On defense, they get to the ball fast … they've always had speed so we have to go play our best game to a have a chance."