Meridian Star

September 13, 2013

09-13-13 Lauderdale County Football Previews

From staff reports
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — West at Choctaw

    The Week 4 clash in Philadelphia will end someone's winning streak as the Choctaw Central Warriors host the West Lauderdale Knights and both are fresh off big wins.

    The Knights are riding a wave of resorted confidence, stemming a few weeks old. Two weeks ago, a score with eight seconds left gave them their first win of the season. Last week, they routed Wesson 27-0.

    “We feel like we have a little momentum, we hope to continue that,” head coach Stan McCain said. “Our guys have experienced a couple wins the last two weeks. We're feeling good about getting better.”

    Last week, McCain said his defense stepped up and executed well, which allowed the offense to do its job. Jackson Little lead the defense with 13 tackles and three sacks.

    The offense put up 300 rushing yards and 120 passing yards. Noah Nix ran for just under half of the Knights rushing total at 140 yards.

    “Overall, it was a good game for us,” McCain said. “It's a concerted effort on everybody's part. Everybody does their job. It might be one guy one night and another guy the next. We do it by committee, which is what I like.”

    Choctaw won the Battle of the Nations in Week 3, whomping North Carolina's Cherokee 56-28 in their home opener.

Clarkdale at Southeast

    The Southeast Lauderdale Tigers have had two rough weeks, both resulting in losses. After losing last weeks home opener to Northeast Lauderdale, 37-21, they are hoping this week's cross-county game will come out in the W column when they host Clarkdale in Week 4.

    Head coach Charles Black said turnovers have cost them the last two games and need to correct those mistakes to have a shot at grabbing a win, no matter who the opponent it.

    “It's going to have to be a team effort,” he said. “We are going to have to block better, have to quit turning the ball over.”

    The Bulldogs have yet to see a win in 2013 and are quickly marching up to the two year mark since the last W.

    Black said his team is aware of Clarkdale's struggles, but that hasn't changed their attitude or mentality in hopes of an easy break this week. This week, the focus has been on fundamentals and playing sound football.

    “Believe it or not, but actually our tempo in practice as been better than it has all year,” Black said. “The kids have been really up. They just want to get back in the win column.”

Lamar at Jackson Prep

    The Lamar has made quick work of its opponents this season, cruising to a 3-0 record to start the season. Tonight, the Raiders expect much more of a battle as Jackson Prep roll into town.

    The 2-1 Patriots will definitely hold the advantage in numbers bringing a roster of 91 players into the game. After a Week 1 loss to Oxford High School, Jackson Prep rolled over opponents in its next two games, taking down Copiah Academy 66-8 in Week 1 before taking down Forest 34-7 last week.

    “The main thing you got to do is get your players over the name of Jackson Prep,” Lamar head coach Mac Barnes said. “We matchup with the OK. We don’t have many bad matchups. I have every bit of confidence we will come out and play a good game against them.”

    While Jackson Prep is averaging 470 yards a game, Barnes said the area he is most concerned with is special teams. Due to their enormous amount of depth, the Patriots are able to use an entirely fresh special teams unit.

    “They are really well coached on special teams,” Barnes said. “They can really hurt you there.”

    Tonight’s game will be the first of back-to-back challenges for the Raiders as they  host Northeast Lauderdale on Sept. 20.

    “I like the idea of playing as many good teams as we possibly can,” Barnes said. “It will hopefully get us ready for the playoffs.”

Heidelberg Aca. at Russell

    Head coach Nate Ballard and the Russell Christian Academy Warriors are hoping a Week-3 win over Clarkdale is a sign of things to come as Heidelberg Academy comes to town tonight.     The Rebels (3-0) are ranked No. 7 in the MAIS 1A rankings.

    “They are just a really good football team,” Ballard said. “They have some really good skill players.”

    After giving up over 40 points to Patrician Academy and Benton Academy in the first two weeks of the season, the Warriors were able to hold Clarkdale to just 17 points last week. Ballard said he was also encouraged with his teams passing performance, as the Warriors completed eight-of-13 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns.

    “It’s always an exciting to get your first win over a county school,” Ballard said. “The kids know each other, it’s a great environment to play in. It’s just great for our kids to have bragging rights for a year.”

    In each of their previous games this season, the Warriors have gone up against bigger, down-hill running teams. This week, Heidelberg will look to bring more of a speed game and try to attack the Warriors on the perimeter.

    “Offensively we will have to try and contain their speed,” Ballard said. “On defense, they get after the ball. So, we will have to do a good job of blocking.