from staff reports
After an up-and-down regular season, Newton County Academy will look to take the first step towards a promising postseason as the Generals host Deer Creek Academy Friday night at 7 p.m.
This year, the MAIS mixed teams from both the North and South creating plenty of unique matchups. Friday night’s game will be no different as NCA head coach Robert Roberts and the Generals admittedly don’t know much about the visiting Warriors.
“We’ve never played them before and from the couple of films I saw on them they like to spread it out and throw the ball,” Roberts said.
Roberts said the lack of familiarity should not be a problem though as he stressed to his team to just play their style of game, mistake free. Coming off a tough 7-6 loss to Benton Academy Roberts said the Generals did more to hurt themselves last week than anything.
“I feel like we’ll be fine as long as we don’t turn the ball over,” Roberts said. “We can’t hurt ourselves like we did last week. We didn’t turn it over last week, but we had a lot of bad penalties. We need to get rid of that.”
One key for the Generals will be their health. Roberts said quarterback/running back Dustin Alsup is finally back to full strength after playing the last few weeks hurt with a high-ankle sprain.
Rams not taking rival lightly
On paper, Kemper Academy’s regular season finale against Central Academy (1-7, 1-2) appears to be an easy tally in the win column
However, against the rival Vikings, KA head coach Pete McCleskey told the Rams (6-3, 2-1) to throw out the record books.
The two team last met in Week 4 when the Rams tore apart Central, 52-12. This week, McClesky feels confident his team will face a completely different opponent and expects the Vikings to run out of new formations on both offense and defense.
“We’ve been over and over about how big of a ball game this will be,” McCleskey said. “We beat them early, but we are going to have to beat them again, and that’s always difficult. They are going to be a handful because they know everything we do, and they know our offense.”
Sitting at second place in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools’ 8-man District 7-A, a win would secure the Rams a spot in the playoffs. While a loss wouldn’t necessarily eliminate KA, McClesky said he doesn’t want to wait an find out where his team would stand.
“We have to win out,” McCleskey said. “We beat the team we were supposed to beat last week, but if we lose to Macon, it could throw it into a three-way tie. If that happens, now we have a mess. I don’t know what would happen, but we just need to beat them.”
Philly can clinch district with win
Philadelphia High School has locked up a district championship in five of the past six seasons. This year, the Tornadoes (9-1, 4-0) will face an steep challenge as they host Choctaw County (8-2, 3-1) Friday night at 7 p.m. with District 5-3A on the line.
“We really want to win and be a No. 1 seed going into the playoffs,” Philly head coach Teddy Dyess said. “It’s big to get that first-round playoff game at home.”
Dyess said the key to stopping the Chargers begins with containing quarterback JaMarcus Bradley. The play-making junior has passed for 628 yards and six touchdowns while adding 1,266 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground.
“They spread out all over the field, and he does a good job back there running around,” Dyess said. “He just makes plays. He can throw it, but it seems like he makes more plays with his legs.”
Because of Bradley’s dual-threat ability, Dyess said it will be key for his defenders to stick to their assignment and know their role.
No matter the outcome, the Tornadoes are assured either a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the playoffs, meaning they will host a game in the first round. Dyess said Friday night should give his players an early taste of playoff atmosphere as he expects a large crowd on both sides.