Southeast Lauderdale wasn't exactly expected to be playing football in November, but that hasn’t phased the Tigers. After sneaking into the playoffs, they upset the No. 1 seed, Morton, 24-21, on the road.
“It’s a tremendous feeling because I think the only ones that thought we were going to win was us,” Southeast head coach Charles Black said. “We’ve got a feeling of confidence that we can accomplish anything that we put our mind to.”
Southeast shut out the Panthers 14-0 in the first half and fought off a comeback. A long, late field goal by Andrew Benard for 32 yards kept them alive and into the second round.
“We moved that ball really well and got a lot of first downs,” Black said. “Our kicking game played a huge part … it feels great. The kids are happy, I’m happy. We’re trying to make it to the third round and make it that much more sweet.”
This week, The Tigers are back at home and up against a similarly sized Seminary team. Black said they are fast, but assuming they make their tackles and don’t let too many get loose, Friday night should go smoothly.
He also said he thinks one of the biggest advantage will be the game’s location — at Southeast Lauderdale High School. Black was thrilled by the turnout on the road and is hoping packed stands ready to cheer.
Wildcats looking for encore
The Kemper County Wildcats did something last week no Kemper County football team had ever done before — won a playoff game. They topped O’Bannon 36-22 on Friday night to advance to the second round.
Frist year head coach Chris Jones knows they can do more, despite being 9-3 on the season — Kemper’s best record in history.
“It feels good, real good, but I’m not satisfied at all,” he said. “I told the kids from Day 1 that our mission is to get to Jackson … you gotta do the things it takes to get to that championship level and that starts with believing.”
Last week, Willie McCray had a big game. He rushed for a 127 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. Quarterback Kelvin Bourrage was 14-of-21 for a 162 yards and ran for two touchdowns on 19 carries for 82 yards.
Jones said those two and playmakers Otis Cross and DJ Clayton will need to all play their best ball yet this week again North Pontotoc. The Vikings are also 9-3 on the season should put up a tough fight Friday night.
“I feel like we’re starting to peak at the right time,” Black said. “They’ve got some good athletes, we’ve got some good athletes … I think we played the best of 3A has to offer [this season]. I think that’ll help us.”