Saints gear up for district play

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 20, 2007

NATCHEZ — Not many people expected Friday night’s game between Trinity Episcopal and Prairie View Academy to be an important game in MPSA District 3-AA.

But with River Oaks and Riverfield each having lost a district game, this game could have a significant bearing on possible playoffs spots at the end of the season. Both the Saints and the Spartans will be taking 1-0 records into this game at Prairie View Academy in Bastrop, La.. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

Trinity Episcopal has outscored its first four opponents by a combined score of 171-16 en route to a 4-0 overall record. Prairie View is 3-1 overall and is coming off a 14-6 win over a Riverfield team that stunned River Oaks 21-0 the previous week.

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“It’s a huge district game for us. We don’t want to lose a district game early,” Trinity Episcopal assistant head coach Matt Mason said. “We still have district games against River Oaks and Riverfield late in the season. We don’t want our backs against the wall going into those two games.”

The Spartans will rely heavily on their running game to control the clock and to try to keep the Saints’ high-powered offense on the sidelines.

“Prairie View is big. They run the ball exceptionally well,” Mason said. “They have a very good tailback. We have to stop the running game to get the ball and utilize our speed.”

To do that, Trinity will more than likely put eight or nine players in the box and make Prairie View’s offense one-dimensional. Mason noted that the passing game is the Spartans’ weakness and forcing them to throw the ball could lead to the Saints’ defense creating turnovers.

And when Trinity gets the ball on offense, the Saints will spread the ball around to several different players using a balanced offense.

“They use multiple defenses. They’ve got good linebackers, but we feel like our speed is our advantage,” Mason said. “We’re going to stick with the game plan we’ve been using. We feel like our passing game is going to open up our running game.”