Sicily Island takes on undefeated Oak Grove Friday night

Published 12:28 am Thursday, October 25, 2018

SICILY ISLAND — It took somewhat of a Hail Mary pass from Tyreke Tolliver to Keonte Dunbar for the Sicily Island High School Tigers to defeat Cedar Creek School last week.

It will take more than that for them to defeat the undefeated Oak Grove High School Tigers on the road this Friday in an LHSAA District 2-1A game. Kickoff in Oak Grove, La. will be at 7 p.m.

Sicily Island’s win put the Tigers at 4-4 overall and 2-3 in district play. They also moved up two spots to No. 17 in this week’s Class 1A power ratings.

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While Sicily Island head coach Donald Money said it took a lot of luck for the Tigers to come away with that improbable win over Cedar Creek, he was also pleased with the way his players’ effort and never-give-up attitude.

“They hung in there. That was the key to winning that game,” Money said. “We got luck with that last long play to get the win. Friday night was one of those night where it could have gone either way. This time is went our way.”

Sicily Island was at the Cedar Creek 37-yard line when Tolliver, out of the shotgun formation, dropped back to the 45-yard line and threw a 50-yard pass to Dunbar, who got between two defenders and used his height to catch the ball five yards deep in the end zone.

“Keonte made a great catch and Tyreke threw a good ball. There was some skill involved and a lot of luck,” Money said.

The Tigers also welcomed back to action linebacker Montrell Jackson, who Money said has been out in recent weeks with a slightly torn MCL. He had five tackles and one fumble recovery.

“We got him back for most of the game. We’ve got some more guys that stepped up and played well,” Money said.

Tolliver was 5-for-16 passing for 119 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He was also the team’s leading rusher with 96 yards and one touchdown on 10 carries. Javelyn Robinson had 12 carries for 84 yards and one TD.

Now comes Oak Grove, which is 8-0 overall and 5-0 in district play. Those Tigers are No. 5 in the LSWA Class 1A poll and No. 2 in the Class 1A power ratings after squeaking past Delhi High School on the road 41-38.

“We’re in for a tough one,” Money said. “They’ve got a big team and they’re pretty physical. We’re going to have to use our speed and our passing. It’s going to be a tough fight.”

As to what else makes Oak Grove so tough to beat, Money said, “Depth. And they’ve got coaching. Oak Grove is a perennial powerhouse in Class 1A football. They are right there with Neville, Kentwood and John Curtis.”

In addition to Jackson, Tolliver, and Keonte Dunbar, Money said that other aspects of Sicily Island’s offense will have to step for the visiting Tigers to upset the host Tigers and knock them for the ranks of the unbeatens.

“Our passing game needs to be good. We need to be able to run the ball enough to keep Oak Grove off the field. They average close to 40 points a game,” Money said. “Our running backs, Landrae James, Jamonte Jordan, Tyrell Jordan, and Claven Dunbar, who’s our blocking back.

“Our line’s been doing a good job. They’re going to need to continue to do that – Gage Cross, Geoterrion Green, Blake Winningham, Zavier Ramirez, Ricky Tolliver (Jr.). The offensive line’s going to have to do a good job of blocking. Keonte Dunbar, he’s a receiver, but he’s also a tight end.”