West back where it belongs
The West Lauderdale Knights are a completely different team from last year and in the playoffs for the first time in three years.
“It's been a while,” head coach Stan McCain said. “We've had a good year so far and we'll see how long we can stay in it.”
Last week, they rallied against Kosciusko in the second half but it wasn't enough, dropping the final regular season game, 28-17. The loss didn't put them out of the playoffs as they finished the season 7-4, 3-2.
Last season, the Knights went 2-8 and missed the playoffs. After moving to the Class 4A North, they are well on the road to success.
“We worked hard,” McCain said. “We've had some good fortune, Lord has really blessed us this year … our guys keep playing and that's the biggest attribute we got.”
The season could continue if they can get through a 6-5 Cleveland team. A win would bring the postseason home to Collinsville next week. For that to happen, West will need to be on its toes.
“They do something offensively that we're not use to,” McCain said. “We've tried to prepare our guys for that and hopefully we can have a good game.”
The Knights should get John Williams back form an ankle injury, but quarterback Tyler Turnage is still out with a broken collarbone.
Philly eyeing top prize
Philadelphia only has one loss this season and it was in an early season, state championship preview to Louisville. This week, the Tornadoes will begin the journey to the MSHAA Class 3A title game when they host Velma Jackson in the first round.
“Our goal is a state championship, always is, always will be,” Philly head coach Teddy Dyess said. “That's not going to change. We're going to take it one step at a time at this point.”
To get to a perfect 5-0 in the the district and win a district title for the sixth time in seven years, Philly had to get through Choctaw County last week. The Tornadoes did so with ease, taking a 41-6 win.
This season, they've outscored their opponents 473-54.
Dyess said the Falcons are coming in banged up but their speed will be intact.
“They've got a solid ball team but have been hit hard by injuries,” he said. “We're fortunate to be going into the playoffs healthy. I feel good about that.”
Last week, the Tornadoes were tested on making adjustments. Dyess said he liked what he saw on defense and by his quarterback Romon Gray. He hopes the same will take place on Friday.
“Great team speed out of Velma Jackson and very similar defensively,” Dyess said. “Offensively, we probably throw the ball around better than they do.”