MHSAA Previews: Tigers looking to pull off upset
Fayette — The only thing on the minds of the Jefferson County High School Tigers is “upset.”
The Tigers (3-4) will face the No. 1-seeded Tylertown in the first round of the MHSAA Class 3A playoffs Friday, and head coach James Herrington vowed his team will not go away without a fight.
“I tell my players, if you’re thinking anything other than upset, you shouldn’t be playing,” Herrington said.
Going into Tylertown territory, Herrington said the first thing they must do is not make the game harder for themselves. That’s something Herrington said his players have a tendency of doing.
“We can’t beat ourselves,” he said. “We have heavily penalized ourselves, and we’ve been having a very uncharacteristic kicking game. We don’t put ourselves in a position to win. A team can cause turnovers, but the one that beat us are unforced.”
Against Tylertown, the Tigers have to perfect two areas of their game — blocking and tackling.
“We have to take care of the fundamentals, that is to block and tackle every time the whistle blows,” Herrington said. “Tackling is key against a team that runs well, and blocking well is key against a defense that is quick.”
The Tigers head to Tylertown at 7 p.m. Friday.
Franklin County High School
Meadville — Franklin County High School head coach Chris Calcote said his team can’t play a second-half game like they usually do against Seminary High School Friday.
“We can’t wait until we’re seven points down to get started,” he said. “We have to play better, and we have to control the ball and not let Seminary have it too much.”
Seminary, the No. 2 seed in the Class 3A playoffs, is a team that poses a big challenge for the Bulldogs, Calcote said.
“They are really quick, because they don’t have a lot of size,” Calcote said. “They are well-coached, and they do a lot of things right. They will be a really big challenge for us, and it’s at their place.”
Seminary runs a tough offense as well, and Calcote said his players would have to remain focused throughout the game if they want to be successful against it.
“They run a Wing-T formation with a lot of misdirection and a lot of counters, so we have to be disciplined,” Calcote said.
Calcote said the Bulldogs must understand they have been given the privilege to play beyond the regular season, and they must use that as motivation to extend their postseason.
“A lot of people wish they were playing in the playoffs, so we have to play hard to stay in the playoffs,” he said.
Franklin County heads to Seminary at 7 p.m. Friday.
Wilkinson County High School
Woodville — Wilkinson County High School is taking things one game at a time, which is the only way to get through the Class 3A playoffs in such a tough bracket.
The Wildcats will host Perry Central High School Friday, and head coach Kenneth Brown said his team cannot afford to look ahead, since anything can happen in the playoffs.
“We can’t take anybody for granted; we always try to stress that to our team,” Brown said. “Regardless of what they may look like on film, it’s about taking it one game at a time.”
Brown said he hopes having home-field advantage throughout the playoffs plays a big role in their success.
“Hopefully, it works in our favor,” he said. “We feel good about it and our fans feel good about it, so we have to go out and play well and perform well enough to advance in the playoffs and keep playing at home.”
The Wildcats know what Perry Central will throw at them, Brown said, and it’s all about executing the game plan.
“We have to do what we do offensively, because they don’t do anything we haven’t seen,” Brown said. “They run the base offense we used to run, so we just have to stay focused and get stops.”
Wide receiver Allenzae Staggers has taken a leadership role for the Wildcats, and Brown said he is pleased with his efforts lately.
“Allenzae has stepped up as a leader; he has peaked quite a bit,” he said. “Hopefully, the team responds, and they understand the importance of what he’s saying to them.”
The Wildcats host Perry Central at 7 p.m. Friday.