The Meridian Star
Size matters, or so Philadelphia head coach Teddy Dyess said about this week's match up at Class 5A Neshoba Central.
The Tornadoes are a 3A program, traveling to the bigger school for the first time since 2009 when they left with a 40-14 win. The following year, the Rockets made the reverse trip and, again, Philadelphia won with virtually the same score, 42-13.
"We've taken a few years off and I think that's increased the excitement around the game and everything," Dyess said. "It's a great match up. Neshoba Central is really well coached … I expect them to be better this week than the week before."
In the first two weeks of the season, Philadelphia has yet to be scored on as they've shut out their two opponents South Delta, 49-0, and McClain, 71-0.
Dyess said his offense didn't make much improvements between their last two games despite the upped point total. He said he feels different this week and can see an improvement, which is needed when playing a school two classes up.
"Some people like to argue with me on this, but I feel like were always a little bit of an underdog in the game when you're a 3A going in to play 5A, just based on the number of students and males in the school," he said. "It puts you at a little bit of a disadvantage."
But it has a large advantaging after the fact, too, Dyess said. With the match up on the road, and his team feeling like the underdog, going into the hostile environment so early in the season will prepare them for district play when games truly count and during the do-or-die playoffs.
"It puts your kids behind the eight-ball a little bit and you can see how they react under fire," Dyess said.
For a good night in Neshoba and to move to 3-0, Dyess said he couldn't rely on just one person or one side of the ball. He needs his entire team to step up and play as a unit. Last week, the Tornadoes were led by Jacardius Griffin's 114 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Josh Rush and Romon Gray were also responsible for two scores apiece. Kicker John Smith went 8-for-8 on PATs and 2-for-2 on field goals for 14 points.
After a good week in practice, he said he feels good about improvements on the offensive line that had been the downside in the big wins.
"We need all hands on deck," he said. "We need everybody ready to role, no one person in particular."