° empty

Trinity, Silliman to square off again

NATCHEZ — A shoulder injury sidelined Trinity Episcopal junior linebacker Zach Young the first time his team took on Silliman Institute Sept. 7.

The Saints got the best of that matchup 27-14, and they will again look to top the Wildcats Friday when the two teams square off in the first round of the MAIS Class AA South State playoffs.

“We already beat them at their place,” Young said. “Now they’re coming to our place, and they’re going to bring their A game. That’s something we’re going to have to understand, and we’re going to have to man up and play as hard as we can.”

Young said the first matchup allowed him to get somewhat familiar with the Wildcats, even though he wasn’t able to see any action.

Trinity’s Tanner Cage leaps over Columbia Academy’s Logan Cooke as he takes the ball down the field during the Saints 20-14 win against the Cougars Oct. 19. That win secured Trinity a spot in the playoffs, and the Saints will host Silliman Friday night for a first-round game. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

“From what I saw on the sideline, they’re a really tough team,” Young said. “They like to hit, but our mindset is to hit them in the mouth.”

That’s a mindset Young said the Saints (7-4) bring into every game: Hit hard and hit often, even as the game wears on and fatigue starts to set in.

“Sometimes they’ll come back and hit you, and you have to keep on doing it, or sometimes they’ll lay down, and the rest of the game is yours,” Young said.

Head coach Josh Loy was complimentary of the Wildcats’ offense, saying the team likes to try and spread out defenses all over the field.

“Their quarterback is explosive in the passing game, as well as the running game,” Loy said. “They create mismatches and try to get their quarterback in space. They’re big up front, so we’re going to have our work cut out for us as far as moving them off the line of scrimmage to run the ball.”

Despite the win against Silliman earlier in the season, Loy warned that his players could not afford to get cocky.

“We can’t be overconfident about anything right now,” Loy said. “We’re not playing our best football. We’ve lost two out of the last three games, and the third one (Columbia Academy) was a near loss.”

The Saints’ problems come down to a lack of execution, Loy said.

“Every film we put on it’s the same thing,” Loy said. “One or two guys aren’t doing their job, and it kills the drive. We drop a snap, we get a penalty, we drop a ball, we throw an interception — some guy on every play is making a mistake at critical times that’s not allowing us to execute like we were early in the year.”

Though his team wasn’t able to come away with a district championship against Brookhaven Academy last week, Loy said his team has to look at the playoffs as a new season.

“I hope there’s disappointment,” Loy said. “There needs to be disappointment to fuel us and allow us to go on a playoff run. I’m disappointed, but we move forward. That’s the only way we can look at it at this point.”

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Friday at Trinity.