Local schools look to get one more win and make playoffs

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 31, 2004

Things just don’t get any easier.

The Centreville Tigers (5-0, 8-1) won a hard-fought battle Friday against . Their reward: a showdown with Oak Forest (5-0, 8-1) with the District 4-AA championship on the line.

&uot;It ought to be a big ballgame,&uot; Centreville head coach Bill Hurst said. &uot;I’ve been excited all week. The boys were excited last week and I’m sure they will be again.&uot;

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The Centreville Tigers, ranked No. 5 in the state, are looking to make yet another playoff run under Hurst. Both Centreville and Oak Forest have playoff spots already sown up, but a win in the game would not only give the victor bragging rights but also an easier opponent in the first round of the postseason.

The Tigers looked vulnerable last week in a 48-34 win over Brookhaven. The Cougars jumped out to a 14-0 lead before the Tigers came roaring back. Hurst said he was troubled by his team’s lack of execution, especially the defense’s inability to tackle.

&uot;We just didn’t do a good job of (executing against Brookhaven),&uot; Hurst said. &uot;We didn’t play much defense, but the offense did well, particularly the offensive line.&uot;

Hurst said he expects Oak Forest to be a tough contest for his team this week.

&uot;They have a lot of speed, so we need to make sure we’re mentally and physically prepared to play,&uot; Hurst said.

BREATHING EASIER &045; Over in District 3-AA, the pressure is off. The Rebels, who thought they might need to get a win on the road against Riverfield to get into the playoffs, have already secured a spot. Sadly, they’ll have the opportunity of playing the winner of the Centreville-Oak Forest game in the first round of the playoffs, a spot that has the notoriety of being the nicest guy in jail.

But if there’s one thing to be learned in the world of high school football, anything can happen.

&uot;They’re playing awfully hard,&uot; Adams Christian head coach Keith Walters said after his team’s 21-7 loss to Central Hinds. &uot;We’re not crying about the situation we’re in. You can’t fault their effort at all. We’ll bounce back. We’ve got a big game next week.&uot;

Give Central Hinds credit for going on the road and claiming the title. The Rebels didn’t lie down at all, and what resulted was a hard-fought game on both sides.

Maybe that number of penalties was a sign of how intense the game was &045; both teams were penalized 27 times for 230 yards.

&uot;We’ve been hearing about that all week &045; about how ACCS was supposed to be good,&uot; CHA running back Hollice Maulden said. &uot; We just came off a loss, and we came so close last year. It’s our senior year, and the seniors stepped up and got it &045; all of them. It was awesome.&uot;

The Cougars now will likely face the loser of Friday’s OFA-Centreville game at home in the first round of the playoffs. Fortunately for everyone involved, powerhouse Simpson Academy is in the North and won’t run into anyone until the state championship.

Again, however, anything can happen.

&uot;Our goal was, number one, to win the district,&uot; CHA head coach Kenny Granberry said. &uot;We wanted to take care of that. We’re in the playoffs, and we’ll see how that goes.&uot;

REBELS SLOWED &045; Walters couldn’t help but think back on the plays his club could not connect on that could have turned the game around.

One play did &045; a 44-yard pass from Timmy Foster to Ray Simpson that set up their first and only score of the game. But on the second-to-last play of the first half the Rebels called for a fake field goal and had Foster wide open, but the Simpson couldn’t hold on to the snap.

In the second half after Foster hit Simpson on a 20-yard pass to get to midfield, Foster was hit in the backfield on fourth down and fumbled.

&uot; We were not comfortable at half (leading 7-0),&uot; Walters said. &uot;We had opportunities to score, and we didn’t. They got up on us pretty tight &045; eight or nine at a time. When you’re trying to grind it out like we were doing, we had three motion penalties the first time, and you can’t have those kinds of mistakes.

The Rebels had just two first downs in the second half, one courtesy of a 15-yard penalty on Central Hinds. The Rebels, however, weren’t alone in missed opportunities, particularly in the first half, but the Cougars stayed the course with their scoring drive in the second half to take the lead.

Adams got to midfield on the following drive, but a 15-yard penalty derailed things.

&uot;The offense wasn’t focused,&uot; Maulden said. &uot;The defense was ready for it. We got our stuff straight in the second half.&uot;

PLAYOFFS, PERHAPS? &045; After a horrible start to the season, the Cathedral Green Wave has fought its way back into the playoff picture. A 12-6 win over Stringer Friday night has put Cathedral in a good place as the season winds down.

With a win over Salem Thursday and a Bogue Chitto loss Friday, Cathedral could be in a three-way tie for third place in Region 1-1A and a chance to make the playoffs.

&uot;We’re just going to prepare for Salem this Thursday,&uot; Cathedral head coach Ken Beesley said.

Adam Daigle

contributed to this report.