- Tony Tsoukalas & Sarah Moomaw
The Meridian Star
Generals looks ball control against Heidelberg
The Newton County Academy Generals are sitting at an even 1-1 in district play, after shutting out Central Holmes Christian, 37-0, last week.
Head coach Robert Roberts said the win was due in big part to reducing turnovers. Reducing might be an understatement as the Generals had committed over 20 in the six weeks Roberts estimated. Last week the Generals held on to the ball the entire game.
“We didn't fumble the ball at all last week,” he said. “Fumbling the ball hurts ourselves.”
Roberts wants to see that continue as the team has spent the week preparing for Heidelberg Academy (5-2, 1-1) for Homecoming. Additionally, it's a big district-rivalry game.
Roberts said the keys to this week will quieting the Rebels offense with a strong offensive showing and continuing to hold onto the ball.
“We played good defense last week and we got beat on several plays but still played good defense,” he said.
Last week, the offense looked a little different and will continue to this week. Roberts slid quarterback Joseph Little back to last year's spot at wide receiver. Dustin Alsup and Seth McCormick split time taking snaps with success.
Running back Jordan Jones stood out, playing his best game of the season scoring three touchdowns and catching three interceptions.
Panthers clawing for third-straight win
The Quitman Panthers are finally living up to their preseason expectations putting together back-to-back victories including a 19-3 win over Northeast Jones last week to open district play.
This week the Panthers will face another challenge when they take on Forrest County AHS in a rematch of the South State Semifinal game last season where Quitman won, 47-40, in three overtimes.
While the Bulldogs have run for over 1,500 yards on the ground this season, senior quarterback Carter Hankins can be just as deadly in the air making creeping defenses pay with play-action passes.
“They run it so much with all the different formations out of the Wing-T,” Quitman head coach Steven Bynum said. “You kind of get lost and forget about the pass, and when they do slip around with the waggle and the boot pass, guys are caught up in the backfield.”
Because the Bulldogs offer so many looks out of the Wing-T formation, Bynum even had his team practice Tuesday without a football to make sure his players were focussing only on there specific task on defense.
“That was just to get the speed and motion of everything they do,” Bynum said. “We try to keep our guys focused on their keys this week and not worried about trying to find the football and all that mess.
“If you get caught up in all that eye candy back there you will get in trouble.”
Tornadoes continue to storm into district play
Philadelphia High School earned a crucial district win last week when it beat Forest, 34-27, on the road. More importantly for the Tornadoes the victory provided a four-quarter experience that could come in handy later in the season.
“That was a huge victory for our team and our program,” Philadelphia head coach Teddy Dyess said. “We overcame a lot of adversity. We played them really hard even though we didn’t play really well. That’s a good thing. You don’t want to be playing your best ball now, you want to do that in the playoffs.”
During last week’s game Philly racked up 219 yards and three touchdowns on the ground but struggled in the air completing only four-of-10 passes for 118 yards for a touchdown and two interceptions. Dyess said the team is working to improve its passing attack while also limiting turnovers this week as they hit the road for another district battle against Raleigh (3-4, 0-1). A win over the Lions would put Philadelphia (6-1, 1-0) in the driver seat for a District 5-3A championship as the Tornadoes return home to face struggling Choctaw Central next week.
“That’s our goal,” Dyess said. “At the same time, we have to play one game at a time. We’ll have to go to Raleigh and beat a good team and take care of business there.”
Wildcats building momentum again
Last week, Kemper County head coach Chris Jones was looking for his team to bounce back from a its first loss of the season.
The offense put up over 400 yards of offense and 65 points against South Pontotoc, so it's safe to say the loss to Philadelphia was almost all forgotten.
“It was good to see our kids respond the way they did,” Jones said. “We played some pretty good football.”
A good showing definitely, but, again, Jones is looking for the team to keep on chugging and not be completely satisfied despite having already ensured a winning season at 6-1 (1-0) headed into Week 8.
Jones said Aberdeen has the tradition of being a state championship team and even though the Bulldogs are off to a rough start (3-4, 1-0), being able to play on the road in district play is important.
“We try to emphasize winning at home, so we did that last week. Now, we trying to go on the road and win,” Jones said. “Another thing we talk about is, if you want to be a good playoff team, you have to win on the road.”
The Wildcat's lines will have the advantage come Friday night, Jones said, but both sides have athletes that'll be ready to compete.
“Our depth on both sides of the ball should help us,” he said.
- Tony Tsoukalas & Sarah Moomaw