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MHSAA Class 3A playoffs: Wilkinson Co. set for re-match

WOODVILLE — Wilkinson County High School was in the exact same position last season as it finds itself in now.

In the MHSAA Class 3A playoffs last fall, the Wildcats were eliminated by Philadelphia High School in a 34-14 loss, and the Wildcats will once again face the Tornadoes in the second round Friday night.

“It is ironic,” Wildcats head coach Kenneth Brown said. “We kind of knew all along who we were going to have, though.”

Philadelphia is the No. 1 seed in the Class 3A bracket, and Brown said it appears from film study that most of the Tornadoes starters from last year’s squad are back.

“They still get after you in that 3-5 defensive front they run, and they do a lot of things up front to try and confuse you,” Brown said. “Offensively, last year they seemed to be more run-oriented, and this year they seem to be passing more and having a mixture of both. They’ll run a lot of looks from the spread to the pro set.”

Brown said last year’s defeat still weighs heavily on his players’ minds, and they’re looking to avoid getting eliminated in the second round for the second year in a row.

“They know who their opponent is, and they just have to gear up and play hard,” Brown said.

One of the keys for the Wildcats, Brown said, will be their attack at the line of scrimmage on defense.

“We have to work on our defensive front,” Brown said. “We’ve given up a lot of scores, and we have to find people to step in, carry out their assignments and do what they’ve been taught to do.”

In fact, limiting Philadelphia’s scoring opportunities is the No. 1 point of emphasis for Wilkinson County in practice this week.

“I think the biggest key is stopping them,” Brown said. “We’ve been able to score some points this year. We just have to find a way to slow people down and come up with the big stop.”

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

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