High schools prepare for district showdowns

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, October 8, 2014

JONESVILLE — Coming off their first win of the season last Friday night, the Block High School Bears will have a short week of practice to get ready for the St. Mary’s High School Tigers in the LHSAA District 3-1A opener for both teams.

Kickoff between Block and St. Mary’s in Natchitoches, La. will be at 7 p.m. Thursday. Despite having one less day of practice than usual, Block head coach Benny Vault Jr. said it will not affect the team at all.

“We watched some film on St. Mary’s Sunday night. We usually take Mondays off, so it won’t be our typical Monday,” Vault said. “We’ll have a full practice (Monday). Do some offense and defense and work on blocking schemes.”

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The good news for 1-4 Block is that, in addition to having wingback/inside linebacker Taylor Perron-Krause and fullback/defensive lineman Kendrick Curry return the lineup in last week’s 12-6 win over Bossier High School, wingback/outside linebacker Raymond Plummer will be ready for this all-important district game on the road.

Vault said this will be the best St. Mary’s team that his Bears team has faced in four years.

“In 2010, they have a real good team that had a lot of seniors,” Vault said. “For several years, we were the big buck and everyone else was the little bucks. Now St. Mary’s and LaSalle are the big bucks in our district. We used to be the hunted. Now we’re the hunter.”

Vault said that his team must play Block football or the Bears will not have a chance of pulling off the upset and beginning district play at 1-0.

Centreville at Central Private

CENTREVILLE — It all comes down to this one game Friday night for the Centreville Academy Tigers, the No. 1 team in all of MAIS Class AA, will travel to Baker, La. to take on the Central Private School Tigers.

A win for Centreville (7-0, 3-0) will give the Tigers yet another undefeated and outright District 6-AA championship.

Central Private, on the other hand, comes into this game with a 2-5 overall record and a 0-1 record in district play after falling to Silliman Institute 33-6. But Centreville assistant coach Brian Stutzman said that record is somewhat deceiving.

“They’re a much-improved team from last year. They’ve got a physical defensive front. They run the ball well on offense,” Stutzman said.

Central Private will bring with it a 4-front on defense and the Rebels will run a pro-I on offense.

Jefferson County at Wilkinson County

FAYETTE — Even though Jefferson County High School is on a four-game winning streak and Wilkinson County High School has given up a bunch of points in its last two games, both teams will have a lot to play for in this key MHSAA Division 7-3A game when the Wildcats play host to the Tigers for homecoming at 7 p.m. Friday.

Jefferson County (4-2, 1-0) will enter this game with its first four-game winning streak in six years and only its third winning streak of that many games going back to the 1982 season. Meanwhile, Wilkinson County (2-5, 0-1) has allowed a combined 102 points in back-to-back losses to Greenwood High School and Franklin County High School.

A win will put Jefferson County in a tie for first place with the winner of the Franklin County-Hazlehurst game at 2-0 in the division standings. Wilkinson County, however, needs a win to remain in the division hunt.

Even though the Wildcats don’t have the playmakers they had last season in Devin Voorhies, Allenzae Staggers and LaDarion Peterson, Tigers head coach James Herrington said there is plenty to be concerned about.

“Just their scrappiness. They play very physical. They’re very decent at running back and quarterback,” Herrington said. “Even though Voorhies is not there, they still have a pretty athletic quarterback (Desmond Hunter). With it being their homecoming, they don’t need any added incentives to play hard.”

Herrington added that his team needs to have a good week of practice because the Tigers are coming off a 28-13 homecoming win over Crystal Springs High School themselves and they don’t need to get complacent with it being the Wildcats’ homecoming game.

“We need to work hard every play. Make sure we do things we do to be successful,” Herrington said. “Just make sure we focus on getting better every week. Hopefully, that will lead us to another victory. Focus on our opponent and have the best game plan for Friday night.”

“They lost to Franklin County last week. With this being the second (division) game and homecoming, they’re going to have all guns blazing. We’re definitely going to have our hands full,” Herrington added.

The last time Jefferson County had a four-game winning streak was when Kiwaski Tenner was the starting quarterback for the Tigers. In 2014, they are led by Rashard Brown at that position and running back Arthur Norton. Norton had 131 yards and scored all four touchdowns in the win over Crystal Springs.

On offense, Wilkinson County is led by emerging running back Lamar Jackson, who had 106 yards on 13 carries in the 40-22 loss at Franklin County. But the rest of the offense had a total of 11 carries for minus-30 yards.

“In our (division), they stay one and two in rushing. Norton is first in attempts, rushing yards and touchdowns,” Herrington said. “Jackson’s a formidable running back. We have to put the clamps on him.”

And it is going to take more than just Jackson for the Wildcats to come out on top. Even though Hunter threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns last week, he also threw three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

Wilkinson County will not only have to take better care of the football, it will also have to cut down on the penalties. The Wildcats were flagged 13 times for 135 yards last Friday night.

Franklin County at Hazlehurst

MEADVILLE — The Franklin County High School Bulldogs will put their two-game winning streak on the line Friday night when they visit the Hazlehurst High School Indians in an important MHSAA Division 7-3A match-up. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m.

Franklin County (3-3, 1-0) is coming off a 40-22 win over Wilkinson County while Hazlehurst (2-4, 1-0) had to hold on for a 22-20 win over Wesson High School.

But despite the fact that this year’s Hazlehurst team is not as good as it was last year when the Indians played for the Class 3A state championship, Bulldogs head coach Anthony Hart is not taking them lightly at all.

“A big thing with a big-time team is tradition. Hazlehurst has a lot of tradition. They’ve played in a lot of state title games. They’ll be ready because it’s (division) time,” Hart said.

Before that win, Hazlehurst had allowed at least 44 points in losses to Murrah, Taylorsville, East Marion and Bassfield. Its only win in the pre-division portion of its schedule was over South Delta.

“They’ve had some bumps in the road earlier in the season, but they seem to have gotten things together,” Hart said.

If that’s the case, then the game between the Bulldogs and the Indians should be a good one. And at least a more competitive one than last year, when the Indians rolled to a 41-15 win over the Bulldogs.

Hart said his team will need to do the same things it has been doing the last couple of weeks to defeat Hazlehurst on the road. And that means a heavy dose of running back Bernard Selmon and a defense that in recent weeks has not only made opposing defenses become one-dimensional, but also forced several turnovers.

Wilkinson County found that out the hard way last week. Selmon had 132 yards rushing and a touchdown and the Bulldogs’ defense forced four turnovers, two of them (an interception and a fumble) were returned for touchdowns.