Meridian Star

September 12, 2013

Area football previews: Rams butt heads with Central in need of win

Tony Tsoukalas & Sarah Moomaw / The Meridian Star
The Meridian Star

Rams butt heads with

Central in need of win           


Kemper Academy will have to shake off a tough 40-34 loss to Humphreys Academy last week as they prepare for another road trip, this time to Macon to take on Central Academy Friday night.

    “Last week was one of those games where whoever had the ball last was going to win, unfortunately it wasn’t me,” Kemper Academy head Pete McCleskey coach said. “You look back at all the tiny mistakes you made and you say, if we could have just done this or just done that we could have won. But hey, that’s the nature of the game, and you just have to go through those things.”

    McCleskey said he expects the Vikings to line up with a full-house backfield and try to attack the Rams with dives and read plays on offense. The Rams will welcome the inside run game as last week Humphreys used its speed on the outside to blow past Rams defenders.

    “I think we can handle it better than the kind of offense we saw last week,” he said. “Last week it was a challenge because we just didn’t have that many people on the perimeter to stop them.

    McClesky said he has seen improvement on defense, but noted that his team will have to stop making as many mistakes if they want to improve throughout the season.

    “I think we have the potential to get into the playoffs,” McCleskey said. “We are improving ever week. Even with a loss last week, I saw a lot of improvement.”


Philly heads north for playoff caliber contest

    Before district play  starts, Week 4 in Class 3A is set up to be a playoff preview as the Philadelphia Tornadoes make the trip to Louisville on Friday night.

    Philadelphia has yet to allow an opponent to score this season, after shutting out 5A's Neshoba Central, 49-0.

    “It was big,” Tornadoes head coach Teddy Dyess said. “We got bragging rights for a year … Being in a big crowd, a big atmosphere, I think that really helped us out a lot. It's going to be very similar Friday night.”

    Dyess said this week's match up of Clarion-Ledger topped rank teams – Louisville at No. 1, Tornadoes at No. 3 – is set to be an even match up and will take working as a unit to get not just a win, but another shut out.

    “There are a lot of similarities as far as the match ups go,” he said. “If they don't score, we don't lose, so we're hoping we can keep throwing shutouts. … Our goal is to keep everybody we play from scoring

    Last week, Philadelphia's defense made 72 tackles and three sacks, the same if not more will be needed against the Wildcats. Dyess said his defensive unit takes it personally when other teams score and will do just about anything to prevent it.

    On offense, the Tornadoes were led by Jacardius Griffin, who rushed for 111 yards and three touchdowns.

    Quarterback Romon Gay went six for nine for 126 passing yards and two



Cougars trying to stay grounded and streaking

    The hardest part of Week 4 for the Newton County Cougars is keeping the team grounded. For the second year in-a-row, they are off to a 3-0 start but with one exception. This week, the Clarion-Ledger has them ranked No. 3 in Class 4A.

    “I'm proud they are excited,” Cougar head coach Jackie Williamson said. “It's the first time it's happened in a while for us to be ranked, but, we explained to them we're ranked because of what we've done so far, not because of what we've got to do next week.”

    The Cougars are headed into Forest (1-2) on Friday night, which Williamson said was sure to be a fight.

    “They are a very dangerous 1-2 team, good athletes, it's going to be a tough ball game for us,” he said. “They're skill guys are really good, which is really the first time we fell like we're matched up on skill guys.”

    With a stronger challenge this week, Williamson said he has consistently been reminding the team what happened last year — a 3-0 start, but no playoffs.

    Last week, Newton County beat Kosciusko, 33-21, by battling through some adversity. The Cougars put up 20 first half points. However, the Whippets score all their points in the final 24 minutes.

    Stepping up on defense was Walter Williams, who made seven tackles and a sack. Jacob Edwards led the offense, passing from 172 yards for two touchdowns. Trent Hundall rushed for 72 yards and a touchdown.


Kemper brings the show home against Newton

    The day has finally come. Kemper County first-year head coach Chris Jones will make his DeKalb debut on Friday night when the Wildcats host Newton in Week 4 action.

    Jones has led his team to a 3-0 start in 2013 and said he can't wait to show the home crowd what the team can do.

    “We've got a little win streak and we're going try and keep it going,” Jones said.

    Kemper is coming off a slim win over French Camp, 26-24, thanks to 12 fourth-quarter points. Jones said he thought it was a good win and important for the team to have to claw their way back to avoid the season's first lost.

    “They have to understand it's not a two game season. You gotta play every game, you gotta play well,” he said. “We let the kids know we are trying to win, 'Let's win the one we play.' So, we trying to win this game and then we'll focus on the next one.”

    Quarterback Kelvin Bourrage and receiver Otis Cross connected for two touchdowns en route to 436 offensive yards. Jones said they'll be keys in Friday night's home opener.

     This season is the first in Class 2A for the Tigers, but last year picked up one of their two wins at home against Kemper, 44-22.

    Newton enters the week still in search of that first win at 0-3 after a 32-14 loss to Heidelberg.

- By Tony Tsoukalas & Sarah Moomaw