Meridian Star

September 4, 2013

Area Football Previews 9/5

from staff reports
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — Cougars take on Kozy in homecoming showdown

    It's Homecoming in Decatur as the Newton County Cougars take on Kosciusko in Week 3.

    Both teams are coming in a 2-0, putting the season's first loss on the line.

    "It's gunna be a big night for us here," Newton County head coach Jackie Williamson said. "Kosciusko is a pretty good opponent for Homecoming. It just worked out that it had to them, we rather have found somebody else be because they pretty tough."

    Williamson said the Whippets are bringing in more size than they've seen this year, especially up front, so his team will be relying on its speed.

    "It's going to be a lot tougher game than we've been facing," he said. "I think this game is going to be a lot tighter ball game than we've played the last few weeks."

    In the first two weeks of the season, the Cougars have taken 30-plus point wins away on their home turf. For the same to happen, Williamson said they need to cut the turnovers from last week and have another big night from quarterback Jacob Edwards and receiver Trent Hundall. 

    "We can't come out against Kosci and have that kind of a night be been successful," he said. "We have to get back on track."


Surging Wildcats travel to talented French Camp

    The 2004 season was the last time Kemper County started 2-0. In Week 3, the Wildcats are traveling to French Camp Academy, the 2012 Class 1A runner up, with hopes of pushing their win streak to three games on Friday night.

    The Panthers are coming off two loss after their state title run, still looking for the first win of 2013. 

    "They won 11 games last year. They aren't use to losing, so I know it's a bad taste they have in their mouth right now," Kemper head coach Chris Jones said. "They wanna get a win, hopefully it'll come next week and not this week."

    The Wildcats used a big third quarter last week, putting up 16 points, to fight back and beat Scott Central, 24-8, on the road.

    Jones said his offense is still working on gelling, as we would expect with any team early in the season. He is placing his confidence in his defense and hoping to stop French Camp's quarterback, who he eyes as their best player.

    "At the end of the day, if we come out and do what we need to do and execute everything and eliminate the big mistakes, i think well be fine and come out on top because we had a good week in practice," Jones said.


Rams but heads with

Humphreys in Week 3

    Due to a late entry into MAIS 8-man Humphreys Academy was not included in the regular rotation during the 2012 season. Friday, Kemper Academy hopes it can do its part in delivering a not-so-happy welcoming, as the Rams travel to Belzoni in search of their second win.    

    KA head coach Pete McClesky said he is pretty sure of both Humphreys' offensive and defensive formations. Although, since he has yet to play the Rebels, he is unsure of what they bring to the table in terms of talent.

    “I know they have a pretty good running back and a good quarterback,” McClesky said. “They have speed, so we will have to defend the perimeters. They are going to run the wideouts out of the backfield and run sweeps and counters.   

    On defense, McClesky expects the Rebels to come at his team hard. The Rams have been working extensively on blocking in practice. The extra work could pay off if the line is able to open holes for Tyler Jowers and Jason Craig, who ran for a combined 280 yards last week against Calvary.

    “I think my kids will be ready,” McClesky said. “This is not a conference game for us, but we really want it in the win column.”


Choctaw to face Cherokee

in “Battle of Nations”

    There is high-school pride and then there is nation pride. Choctaw Central High School will be playing for both Friday night, as the Warriors host Cherokee High School (N.C.) in the “Battle of the Nations” game. The series, which pits the only two Native American high schools east of the Mississippi River against each other, is an annually a must-see matchup for both nations.

    “It will be a full house,” Choctaw Central head coach Troy Savell said. “They will bring a lot down with them, probably a couple of busses with loads of fans. We carry five or six busses when we go up there, and they always do the same. It'll be a big deal.”

    Savell said he expects his team to get up for the game, as they usually tend to save a little extra for the meeting each year. This year, he said the Warriors have a quality chance of coming away victorious due to a challenging first two games of the season.

    One big change for Choctaw will be on the offensive line, where Savell has replaced his starting lineup with junior varsity players. After seeing a lack of interest among his starting unit, Savell said the switch should bring energy to the line.

Panthers better than their

0-2 record indicates

    Quitman's record might read 0-2, but don't mistake the Panthers for just any winless team.    

    After taking on 5A Laurel in Week 1 and 6A Meridian in Week 2, Quitman will once again face a steep challenge as they head to 5A Wayne County Friday night.

    “We schedule a tough schedule, but we were trying to think past the first three weeks,” Quitman head coach Steven Bynum said. “We are hoping it will help us later with a deep playoff run. These three games, against teams with a lot of talent that can do multiple things, will help us prepare for later.”

    Last week, the Panthers almost upset Meridian, taking the Wildcats deep into the fourth quarter before eventually falling 29-22.

    Despite the loss, Bynum feels the matchup against Meridian helped his team beyond the field, adding comradery to the Panther clubhouse.

    “I thought our group really came together as a team,” Bynum said. “They kind of got rid of a little individualism in that ballgame and came together as a team. I think it was good for them.”

    Both teams will be in search of their first win, as Wayne County fell to Oak Grove 45-14 last week.


Tigers take on rival Oilers

in search of first win   

    Newton High School won't be taking rival Heidelberg lightly heading into its game against the Oilers Friday night. Both teams are coming off of shutout losses, as Heidelberg fell 42-0 at Collins, while Newton lost 27-0 at home to Raleigh.

    Turnovers have been key to both teams as well, as both teams have had trouble holding on to the ball at times.

    “It's been turnovers,” Newton head coach Chris Gale said. “Our problem has definitely been turning over the ball. I think it is a lack of focus. It's hard though, because you can't exactly pin point what it is. The only thing I know is we have to get it fixed.

    “We are harping on it in practice, we are drilling it extra. But, again, it is going to come down to everybody stepping up and putting us in position to make plays.”

     Gale said the Oilers have plenty of speed at the receiver position and that to be successful on defense, the Tigers will have to find ways to slow Heidelberg down.

    However his team gets it done, Gale knows coming away victorious will be crucial in establishing momentum before his team hits conference play.

    “We just need to win, that's it.” he said.


Generals hope to stay hot against Porter’s Chapel

    Friday's matchup between Newton County Academy and Porter's Chapel will feature two offenses on totally different sides of the spectrum.

    While the Generals are known for establishing a power-run game, Porter's Chapel will try to spread NCA out on defense opting for a passing attack. With such differences in both offenses, tempo will play a key role in determining the outcome.

     Generals coach Robert Roberts said stopping Porter's Chapel early will allow NCA to slow the game down and play at their own speed.

    “I hope we get a few interceptions,” Roberts said. “We got like four last week and that really helped us. They like to throw it and go fast pace, and we we have to try and slow them down.

    “If our defense could get a couple of turnovers or stop them early so we can control the ball, we should be in good shape.”

    NCA will have the advantage in size, but Roberts is not ready to concede the speed battle to Porter's Chapel just yet.

    “They think they are faster than us,” he said. “I guess we are going to find out on Friday night.”

– Tony Tsoukalas & Sarah Moomaw