‘The Air Show’ meets No. 1 Collins in second round

Published 12:01 am Thursday, November 12, 2015

WOODVILLE — Balls will be thrown.

When (7-5) Wilkinson County hosts (11-1) Collins in the second round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 3A playoffs, two of the top five passers in the state will meet.

Wilkinson County quarterback Desmond Hunter still leads the state in passing yards with 4,050, while Collins quarterback Detric Hawthorn is fifth in the state with 3,155 yards.

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“I think we mirror each other in what we do,” Wilkinson County head coach Kenneth Brown said. “They’re athletic, and we have good athletes. We just have to play. We know they’re No. 1 in the state and the defending state champions, but we still think we have a chance.”

Wilkinson County’s coaching staff believes a hard schedule has prepared the team to face Collins’ explosive athletes. Through the course of the season, the Wildcats played Louisiana High School Athletic Association 5A foes Scotlandville and Zachary, who both earned top five seeds in the LHSAA playoffs. The Wildcats also faced North Pike, a 9-3 team in Class 4A.

“We faced those elite teams, and we were still able to get our offense going,” Wilkinson County defensive coordinator Dwayne Taylor said. “That says a lot.”

The biggest question coming into this game is which defense will make the key stops. The Wildcats have allowed 33 points per game this season, while Collins has allowed 21.

“They played two running teams on the tape we received of them, so they were running a Cover 1,” Taylor said. “We don’t expect them to do that this Friday, not against our athletes.”

Wilkinson County receiver Juan Anthony is third in the state in receiving yards with 1,346, while Collins receiver Calvin Keys is fifth with 1,270. Wildcats receiver Travion Jones is 10th in the state with 1,057.

The Wildcats will host No. 1 seed Collins at 7 p.m. Friday.

“Wildcat nation is going to come out in groves,” Taylor said. “It’s football country down here, and us being at home is probably the biggest factor of all.”