from staff reports
The Meridian Star
Southeast headed into uncharted territory in Week 9
It's Week 9 across the state and many teams are looking for to seal a playoff berth, Southeast Lauderdale included.
With a win over Choctaw Central the first week of district-play and a loss last week, one more win would put them in the hunt. But this week, they'll have to get through the district’s newest addition — Choctaw County.
The Chargers are the compound of Ackerman and Weir, which Southeast head coach Charles Black said he didn't know much about either counterpart piror to combining, but still had a suspicion of what the Tigers will be up against.
“When you take two small schools and put them together, you get a lot of football players,” he said.
Choctaw County is 7-1 and has broken the 35-point mark five times this season, including each of the last three weeks. Black said they have an athletic quarterback in Jamarcus Bradley that will cause the Tigers problems.
Last week, Southeast was shutout 39-0 by Forest.
Black said they were their own worst enemy with too many turnovers and a dropped touchdown pass. Holding onto the ball and getting tackles will be key with the athleticism on the Chargers, he said.
West ready for ultimate test in new division
This is West Lauderdale's first season in the North and Region 4-4A, but head coach Stan McCain knew that would mean getting through defending state champion Noxubee County well before the playoffs.
He said this week on the road will be a true test of what kind of team they are.
“I was hoping we'd get off to a fast start, [so] by the time we got to Noxubee County we'd have a little confidence going,” McCain said. “When you win a few ballgames at the end of the game … You feel like you can play with anybody.”
At 6-2 (2-0) and on a three-game win streak, the Knight have done just that and are packing some momentum because of it. But last week, they got off to a slow start which McCain said can't happen on Friday night.
“We feel like they can put their pants on just like we do,” McCain said.
The Knights have been out starting quarterback Tyler Turnage with a broke collarbone since the West Lauderdale game in non-district play. McCain doesn't expect him back unless there's a playoff run and even then, he isn't positive it's an option.
In the mean time, freshman Tyler Lantz and sophomore Larry Ross have been staring snaps. Ross was banged up last week, putting Lantz in the drivers seat. McCain liked what he saw, but said Friday's starter would be a Game Day decision.
Northeast relying on new offensive line in Week 9
Last week's key win over Newton County, not only put Northeast Lauderdale in the playoff hunt but even on the season (4-4, 1-1).
Trojan head coach Curt Blackburn is using the 37-28 win in Week 8 as a measuring stick for this week's trip to Forrest County. That being said, he's expecting an evenly matched game. The Aggies beat the Cougars by one-point in the district-play opener, while the Trojans got an 9-point victory.
“That's just the nature of our district this year,” Blackburn said. “It's going to be close. It doesn't matter who's playing as long as both teams show up to play it's going to be a battle.
In the win, Blackburn moved center Brendon Windham to guard and slid Justin White into center. He liked what he saw as the Trojan offensive line out-powered Newton County and hopes for some of the same this week.
“I feel like the couple of changes we made last week helped us out in the line,” he said. “I feel like it put Brandon and Reginold [Hopson,] our two biggest kids, side-by-side … I'm proud they played the way they did. We might have been playing them out of position [before].”
Earning a win this week would almost solidify a playoff seed Blackburn said, especially when looking forward to the final two weeks.
“It would really be big for us,” he said.
Raiders hit the road again for tough matchup
Following a tough loss on the road to rival Simpson County last week, the Lamar School football team will look to bounce back this week as they travel to face Presbyterian Christian.
This week, the Raiders will head into the contest a little banged up as they will be without Shane Blanton due to a concussion. Lamar head coach Mac Barnes said the senior will likely be done for the season as he as suffered previous concussions in the past.
“You hate that,” Barnes said. “The boy fought back off an injury earlier this season. He’s feeling okay this week, but you can’t risk it because he’s some concussions in the past.”
Lamar will also be without sophomore Chance Purvis after he was blocked below the waist last week resulting in a bruised thigh.
Presbyterian offers a complex offense featuring more formations than the Raiders have seen from all their opponents combined. Instead of trying to defend each of the Bobcats offensive sets, Barnes said he will keep it simple and have his defense stick to its game.
After putting up only 14 points last week Barnes said he made some adjustments to the Raiders’ offense switching up routes were he felt Lamar could improve.
“Hopefully we will execute better on offense and have a little better production,” Barnes said. “If we can do that, we should have better production.”
Cougars high on momentum after back-to-back wins
If there was any doubt whether or not the Calvary Christian football team was for real after acquiring three key transfers midway through the season, last week’s 60-20 thumping of Veritas left doubters silent.
The Cougars have now scored 130 points in their last two wins against Friendship Christian and Veritas and have caused quite the buzz around the school’s following.
“We have really blessed,” Calvary head coach Kirby Newell said. “We had some big-impact guys come to us. It’s changed our look, it’s changed who we are, and we are so much better because of it.”
Newell knew the Cougars would get better as the season advanced, but even the head coach said he has been a little shocked with how the season has turned around so quick.
“Wow, it’s been a whirlwind,” Newell said. “I didn’t really really know exactly if we were going to be a contender and didn’t think we would be a contender. Then low and behold, here come the transfers. It’s just changed us.
This week the Cougars will travel to a Rebul team who suits only 10 players. With the Cougars not far removed from depth troubles themselves, Newell said he will not take the Raiders lightly.
“They play hard man,” Newell said. “They run that 8-man version of the Wing-T and the run a lot of buck sweeps. We can’t let our players get cocky at all.”