Cathedral taking Loyd Star seriously despite blowout loss
NATCHEZ — Loyd Star isn’t fooling Cathedral head coach Ron Rushing.
Although it lost big to Franklin County 62-7 last Friday, Rushing said he isn’t falling for the idea that Loyd Star isn’t a good team.
“They’re a lot better than that score indicates,” Rushing said.
Cathedral, which is coming off a big 28-6 win versus Central Private on opening night last Friday, will face Loyd Star on the road at 7:30 p.m. this Friday.
“A win definitely helps out our confidence, but we have to focus. We’re taking it one game at a time,” Rushing said.
Part of keeping his team down to earth after such a big win is making sure the players know that there are still things they need to work on.
“We checked out the film and pointed out all the thing we needed to correct,” Rushing said.
“Our game (against Central Private) wasn’t all clean. We did make mistakes, and we have to correct those if we’re going to keep doing well this season. The film doesn’t lie, and it really puts things in perspective.”
And the Green Wave will have to play virtually mistake free if they want to have a chance against a bigger Loyd Star team, Rushing said.
“They’re a really gritty team. They got off to a rough start against Franklin County and couldn’t overcome that, but we expect them come out wanting to make a statement that they are a good football team,” Rushing said.
Cathedral has the misfortune of playing a team coming off a big loss, something Rushing said would be challenging for the Green Wave.
“When you play a good team that just lost by a lot, it is more difficult for you. I know (Loyd Star head coach) Randall Huffman stayed up all night watching film. Good teams know how to put things behind them and get ready for the next game,” Rushing said.
In addition to having a size advantage, Rushing also pointed to the athleticism of Loyd Star’s skill players as something they’ll have to keep in check.
“They have a lot of 4.3 and 4.4 (40-yard dash) guys. They’re also really big up front, and they’ll try to run it straight at us,” he said.
Quarterback Caleb Upton, who is coming off a 14-for-23, 224-yard passing performance against Central Private, said his team would have to have a balanced attack in running the football.
“We have to put out more effort and play smarter. Ishmael Blackmon can get us yards in space and run out on the edges, and Khalil Brice does well between the tackles,” Upton said.
Upton also singled out athlete Daniel Huffines as someone who can act as both a running back and receiver.
“I don’t really have a go-to guy when I’m throwing, but I feel confident when I do, and he’s definitely good to throw to,” Upton said.
But the biggest key for Cathedral Friday is a better running game, Rushing said.
“We have to find a way to run the ball when we need to. I don’t think we’ll be able to throw 40 to 45 times against this team,” he said.