Tigers, Rams look to finish
NATCHEZ — Coaches at Wilkinson County Christian Academy and Centreville Academy have spent the last few weeks trying to keep their players from looking ahead to this week.
Both teams had a feeling the district title would be on the line Friday but had to remain focused against lesser opponents to avoid an upset.
Now the week that will decide district titles in each teams’ respective district is here, and the players can finally talk about the biggest game of their seasons.
WCCA versus CENLA Christian Academy
WOODVILLE — WCCA is the only team with an unbeaten record in MAIS District 3-A, but it will have to defeat CENLA Friday to claim the district crown.
“The table is set for a very big game,” WCCA head coach David Wright said. “It’s been in our heads all year long. We’ve been compared to CENLA, and people keep asking about CENLA. I think last year we might have surprised them, but we aren’t surprising anyone this year.”
The Rams have had very little trouble the past few weeks and come into Friday night’s game with an 8-1 overall record. They have won their last three games by an average score of 55-4.
Wright said his defense would see a bigger test Friday with prolific running back La’Montrell Goudeau testing his defense.
“We will have to do a good job wrapping him up,” Wright said.
Wide out Javarius Battles and senior quarterback Caleb Vallee also give CENLA a good passing attack that will force the Rams’ defense to focus on both dimensions.
“We have to stay honest,” he said. “We will try to confuse them and mix things up on defense and make it as complicated as we can.”
Wright said playing a game that means so much to end the regular season would help the Rams going forward.
“We’ve worked hard to get to where we are playing for something in week 10,” he said. “With the district championship on the line and home field throughout the playoffs, we are in that position.”
Wright said senior leaders Quincy Thompson and Kaleb Sterling would be key to keep the Rams focused while preparing for a big game this week.
WCCA (8-1, 6-0) will host CENLA (7-3, 5-1) at 7 p.m. Friday.
Centreville at Silliman Institute
CENTREVILLE — Centreville has piled up 10 wins by an average margin of 25 points and comes into Friday’s matchup with Silliman Institute as the No. 1 team in MAIS Class AA.
But despite the Tigers’ dominance this season, a loss to Silliman would give them the title of runner-up in MAIS District 6-AA.
“This is the biggest game of the year,” Centreville assistant coach Brian Stutzman said. “We are treating this like a playoff game atmosphere. We have to win for home-field advantage and the district championship.”
Not only is the game big in terms of titles and playoff position, it will also mean a lot for the Tigers’ momentum heading into the postseason, Stutzman said.
“We have to go out and do what we can to win,” he said. “We definitely don’t want to lose knowing we will be going up against the best teams (like Silliman) in the playoffs.”
A game to decide the district championship will only add fire to the Silliman/Centreville matchup that is already a big rivalry, Stutzman said.
“It’s already a big rivalry even if we didn’t have so much lying on the winner,” he said. “It’s still a big game, and this just makes it bigger.”
Stutzman said he puts great value on earning home-field advantage in the playoffs.
“I feel like it’s a tremendous help,” he said. “IT would be great. Our teams in 2007 and 2008, when we won back-to-back state titles, had home-field advantage throughout.”
Centreville (10-0, 3-0) will go to Silliman (6-3, 3-0) with kickoff set for 7 p.m.