Cathedral hosts rival St. Aloysius Friday

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 9, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Cathedral is in the playoffs for the first time since 1998, and the Green Wave couldn’t be happier heading into its final week of the season.

There’s still a matter left to handle Friday when they host St. Aloysius, and a win would keep them in the running for the No. 3 spot in the Region 4-1A standings heading into the playoffs. But that could be secondary to the rivalry of Cathedral against St. Al, one that goes deep in all sports but has the most meaning on the gridiron.

And, of course, a loss would mean going into the playoffs as a lower seed.

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&uot;It would be a big win for them if they came in here and beat us,&uot; Cathedral head coach Ken Beesley Sr. said. &uot;For a while there, we had about a 12-game winning streak against St. Al, but the last five years they’ve won. This is the week we want to see if we can turn the tables. I think our parents and fans want it more than our kids. We definitely want to win and get up for it but not get too high where we don’t focus on what we have to do.&uot;

The objective for the Green Wave is to play well and finish strong to get that No. 3 spot in the playoffs. The Wave is sitting in a three-way tie with Bogue Chitto and Mount Olive in second place with each at 6-2.

If everyone wins Friday, the Bobcats will get the nod at second place on the point system since each team is 1-1 in head-to-head competition. Bogue Chitto is at plus-7, Cathedral at minus-2 and Mount Olive at minus-6.

On Friday Mount Olive will play Dexter and Bogue Chitto will face Enterprise.

&uot;I’m pretty sure Mount Olive is going to win. They play Dexter,&uot; Beesley said. &uot;Bogue Chitto could win, but you never know. Them and Enterprise are a big rivalry, and they’re only about 10 miles apart &045; about like Ferriday and Vidalia. Then we’ve got to play St. Al. It’s a rivalry, and anything can happen.&uot;

That’s why Beesley and his staff are doing all they can to prepare for the Flashes (4-4, 5-5) who were eliminated from the playoffs last week when Cathedral knocked off Bogue Chitto. It’s a new team of sorts for head coach Jim Taylor after losing a number of seniors from last year’s playoff squad and having some injuries at the start of the season to take away depth.

The Green Wave may be playing its best defense of the year after holding Bogue Chitto to 14 points last week. It’s been the latest in a number of defensive switches up front involving under-sized players, and they may have found the right mix now after giving up 60 points to Stringer three weeks ago.

It could come in handy against a St. Al offense that likes to run a two tight-end set and run it with a bunch of traps.

&uot;We know basically what they’re going to do, but they do a good job of executing,&uot; Beesley said. &uot;We’ll have to step up and tackle real well. We can’t let them beat us inside on that fullback trap. We’ve got to shut that down. They do like to (throw it to) the tight end a few times out in the middle out of the tight formation. If they catch you coming up putting too many people in the box, they try to throw it to him over the middle.&uot;

Cathedral’s offense comes into the contest still firing well for the most part despite scoring just 18 points against Bogue Chitto, its lowest total since that 28-14 loss at Mize. Quarterback Turner Smith threw for 148 yards, a number far below his 330 the week prior in the win over Salem, after the Bobcats pulled their outside linebackers and cornerbacks to defend the screen and the safeties back in a zone.

&uot;We’ll have to play a full four quarters,&uot; Beesley said. &uot;We’d like to get out to an early lead and make them do some things they don’t want to do. I’d imagine after seeing what Bogue Chitto played last week they’ll try to do the same thing. I feel like we’ll be able to run the ball better than we did last week.&uot;