Wildcats looking at history
Kemper County has never won a playoff game — ever. First-year head coach Chris Jones hopes this is the year that will all change.
The Wildcats are 8-3 on the season heading into the MHSAA Class 3A tournament, as are the O'Bannon Greenwaves.
“I feel good about it,” Jones said. “I think they are a good team. I think we're a good team also. I think this is the year we become one of the first teams in the history of Kemper to win a playoff game.”
Due to the distance, the two schools weren't able to share film so Jones relied on scouting reports from other coaches for preparation, but feels confident..
“They like to run the ball a lot,” he said. “I heard they've got some athletes, so it's going to be a good match up.”
This is O'Bannon's first season in 3A, having moved up from 2A. Jones said he thinks that'll be an advantage for the Wildcats as the top teams in their divison are also the top of the class.
Additionally, he knows his guys can finish 48 minutes strong. Last week against Winona, they pulled out the win, 16-10, with a fourth quarter score and great play on all sides of the ball.
“Defense played great. Hats off to defense, hopefully we can continue that this Friday,” Jones said. “When it comes this time, you got to have a great game and good defense so hopefully we get both of those.”
Tiptoeing Tigers on the loose
Southeast Lauderdale snuck into the MSHAA Class 3A playoffs with a Week 11 win over Raleigh.
“I'll be truthful, we really didn't deserve to win on the fact that we turned the ball over seven times,” head coach Charles Black said. “We played a lot better defense last week. We moved the ball pretty well and actually scored some points.”
Black is hoping the playoffs will give his team the spark they've been lacking most of the season, but its schedule didn't help the case.
Morton was 5-0 in district play. Black said on paper it is a similar team to Philadelphia, which routed the Tigers during a three week scoring drought, but said the Panthers' linemen aren't as big.
“They are really good at throwing the ball and they played their best game this past Friday night,” Black said. “We're facing a team that we faced [in the past].”
This week, he said, they've been working on ball security and holding on it at all times. Winning the turnover battle is huge, especially this time of year, Black said.
He also hopes to see a similar effort on running the ball and by the defense as last week.
“We ran the ball a lot more this past Friday night and I feel like if we can run the ball pretty decent Friday night, and I think we can against Morton, then we can throw when we want to throw,” Black said.