Sicily Island in playoffs for 2nd straight year

Published 12:36 am Friday, November 9, 2018


SICILY ISLAND — In 2017, Sicily Island High School’s varsity football team made the LHSAA Class 1A State Playoffs as the No. 24 seed in just its third season back.

Now in 2018, Sicily Island is in the Class 1A Playoffs for the second straight year. And this time the Tigers will be doing something they haven’t done since 1992 — hosted a playoff game.

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As the No. 15 seed, the 5-5 Tigers will play host to No. 18 seed Varnado High School in a first-round game Friday at 7 p.m. Sicily Island finished 3-4 and in fifth place in a tough District 2-1A in which every team made the postseason — five in non-select Class 1A (Oak Grove, Delhi, Sicily Island, Delta Charter, and Tensas High) and three in select Division IV (St. Frederick, Ouachita Christian, Cedar Creek).

As for hosting a playoff for the first time in 26 years, Sicily Island head coach Donald Money said, “We haven’t heard a whole lot, but people are excited about (us) hosting a playoff game. We had homecoming last week (a 56-0 win over Tensas High) and we had a good crowd, but I think this week we will have a bigger crowd. Kind of an upbeat atmosphere.”

The weather could be an issue. As Money noted, rain “probably” kept the Tigers off the field on Thursday and it is in the forecast for part of today. And will lead to sloppy field conditions – something else which could play a role in the outcome of tonight’s game.

“The weather is expected to pass (today). We’re kind of concerned about the weather and the field conditions,” Money said. “We’re not looking past anybody, but we’re hoping to win this one. The boys are excited.”

Money said that he is not at all concerned about his players being too amped up come kickoff time.

“This group of kids I’ve got now, they’ve played better with that kind of mindset. I think this will bode well for us, having this upbeat kind of atmosphere,” Money said. “I look for our players to come out of the gate hitting. We’ve had a good home record. I feel more positive about the mindset of our boys than if they were down or lackadaisical.”

In preparing for a 2-8 Varnado team that finished fourth in District 8-1A, Money said the main points of emphasis during the practice this week have been, “Just making sure that everybody stays fundamental. They know the plays. We’re not introducing any new stuff. Just do your job. Do it right. Do your blocking correctly. Block who you’re supposed to block. We’ve changed some things a little bit defensively, but we’re pretty much going to do the same things we did last week against Tensas.”

No. 18 seed Varnado will be making a long trip from Angie, La. for this first-round match-up. But that is something the Wildcats have been used to this season.

“They played up a good bit. They play in a part of the state where there aren’t a lot of Class 1A teams nearby. Max Preps has them with 57 (actually 74) players listed, but they only have 31 players on their roster. I talked with coach (Anthony) Hicks last weekend. They might be 2-8, but we’re not taking them lightly because they’ve played some bigger schools.”

As what concerns him the most about the Wildcats, Money said, “They’ve got one or two kids that are hard to block. They have a little speed. I don’t think they’re as fast as we are. They have a little more depth than we do. They play more upperclassmen than we do. I’ve got two seniors.”

Sicily Island got some good news when the Tigers found out that linebacker Montrell Jordan was cleared to play and will be ready to get back on the field tonight after missing several games with a knee sprain. However, Jamonte Jordan has a thigh bruise and Money said he probably won’t play much, if at all.

“But we’ve got everyone else healthy,” Money added.

Money said the Tigers will have to stay healthy and stay focused for them to come out victorious tonight.

“And on offense, make sure they carry out their blocking assignments. On defense, get to the ball. Don’t let anybody get behind you. Take care of the ball on offense. We’ve had a few picks, but not a lot of fumbles. We just don’t fumble the ball that much this year.”