Prep football previews: Natchez hosts Brookhaven
NATCHEZ — Playoffs berths, playoff seedings, and rivalries are the themes for Friday night’s high school football games. Here is the list of this week’s high-stakes match-ups with a lot on the line for several local and area teams:
Brookhaven High at Natchez High
NATCHEZ — Natchez High School and Brookhaven High School are each coming off demoralizing losses to MHSAA Region 3-5A opponents. Something will have to give Friday night when the Bulldogs play host to the Panthers at Tom F. Williams Memorial Stadium.
Kickoff between Brookhaven High and Natchez High is set for 7 p.m. The Bulldogs fell to then No. 9 overall and Class 5A No. 3 West Jones High School 42-12 to drop to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in region play.
“We have to execute better than we did last week in all phases of the game – offense, defense and special teams,” Bulldogs head coach Randy Craft said.
As far as what has been the emphasis in practice has been this week, Craft said, “Just getting better in our fundamentals – blocking and tackling. Just get better every week.”
The Mustangs ran through the Bulldogs’ defense to the tune of 355 total rushing yards and their defense picked off six passes. Three of those picks were on consecutive possessions that led to three straight scoring drives and a 28-6 lead at halftime for West Jones.
“Kyreek Murray, based on the way he played (last week). Our quarterback needs to have a good game and limit the turnovers,” Craft said. “Raymone Bowman, our linebacker. He needs to have a big game.”
Brookhaven fell to 2-2 overall and 2-1 in region play after a 34-12 loss at home to Laurel High School, which won the Region 3-5A championship in the process. While the Panthers need a win to clinch second place in the region, the Bulldogs need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
“It’s a very important game for us. It will determine whether we go to the playoffs or not,” Craft said.
Ferriday at Vidalia
VIDALIA — One team is learning how to win under first-year head coach Michael Norris, but has yet to do so. The other is the defending Class 2A state champion, the No. 1 team in Class 2A, and is undefeated.
Both teams reside in Concordia Parish and are in the same district. And these two rivals will square off Friday at 7 p.m. at Dee Faircloth Viking Stadium when the Vidalia High School Vikings play host to the Ferriday High School Trojans.
Vidalia fell to 0-2 overall and 0-2 in district play after a 52-0 loss on the road to General Trass High School.
“Score more points than they do,” Norris said when asked what it will take for the Vikings to pull off what would be a huge upset. “We’ve just got to execute and not turn the ball over and play our game. There’s going to be a lot of hype and a lot of energy. We’ve just got to do our job and limit the mistakes. They’ll make some mistakes along the way. Hopefully the oblong ball will bounce our way.”
The main emphasis for the Vikings during practice this week has been execution and have as close to a clean game as possible, Norris pointed out.
“Be clean. Execute. Do your job. Don’t worry about what the guy next to you is doing. If all 11 players do their job, we have a chance,” Norris said. “They have a long winning streak. They’re the defending state champions. They’re the best team in the state. They’re also our rivals. Ferriday vs. Vidalia — it’s a big game. Throw the records out.”
Norris said the Vikings’ offense, defense and special teams will have to have a big game, adding that anybody that’s on the field wearing a blue jersey will have to have a big game for them to emerge victorious.
Ferriday had to finish its home game against Madison Parish High School late Saturday afternoon after it was postponed due to inclement weather, yet steamrolled its way to a 62-0 win over the Jaguars to go to 4-0 overall and 3-0 in district play.
“Coming out focused. Playing our kind of football. Being physical. Just playing a complete game. We haven’t played a complete game yet,” Trojans head coach Stanley Smith said about the keys to victory for his team.
One point of emphasis in practice this week has been penalties, which has really been the only bugaboo Smith said his team needs to cut down on.
“I’ve harped on them on that for the past two weeks. We need to have some discipline and some self-control,” Smith said.
Even though both teams are going in opposite directions, Smith said the Trojans will not take the Vikings lightly.
“It’s a rivalry game. All the records go out the window,” Smith said. “It’s a district game. Those games are very important.”
Jefferson County at Franklin County
MEADVILLE — Second place and a home playoff game will be at stake Friday night when the Franklin County High School Bulldogs host the Jefferson County High School Tigers in a pivotal MHSAA Region 7-3A game.
Franklin County has been the surprise team in Region 7-3A, having won four of its last six games after an 0-2 start to the season to go to 4-4 overall and 2-1 in region play.
The Bulldogs stepped out of region play last Friday night and defeated the Class 2A East Marion High School Eagles 26-8 on the strength of a running game that amassed 249 total rushing yards and a defense that limited East Marion to 80 total yards of offense and forced five turnovers.
Jefferson County fell to 4-3 overall and 2-1 in region play after a heartbreaking 16-14 loss at home to Hazlehurst High School as the Indians recorded a safety midway through the fourth quarter for the final margin of victory and the Region 7-3A championship.
While a win secures a home game and the region’s No. 2 seed for the Class 3A South State Playoffs, a loss means the No. 3 seed and a first-round playoff game on the road.
Prentiss Christian School at WCCA
WOODVILLE — The Wilkinson County Christian Academy Rams will put their undefeated season on the line Friday night when the host the Prentiss Christian School Saints for Senior Night with plenty on the line for both teams in this MAIS 8-Man District 2-1A showdown.
Kickoff between Prentiss Christian and WCCA is slated for 7 p.m. The visiting Saints are 3-6 overall after a 51-6 loss to North Sunflower Academy and 1-1 in district play. The Rams are 9-0 overall and 2-0 in district play after a 62-8 win on the road over Class 2A Claiborne Academy last Friday night.
If WCCA wins, it will be the district champion and will be either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed, depending on the outcome of the game between undefeated Desoto School and District 1-1A rival North Sunflower Academy. Even if the Rams lose, they will get in with because of their power points standings.
If Prentiss Christian wins, it will make the playoffs as the district champion. However, if the Saints lose, they could be on the outside looking in because they also lost to district foe Christian Collegiate Academy 28-20 two weeks ago.
Centreville Academy at Glenbrook School
MINDEN, La. — The Centreville Academy Tigers will be on the road Friday night in the first round of the 2020 MAIS Class 3A Playoffs when they travel to Minden, La. to take on the Glenbrook School Apaches. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Even though Centreville Academy finished second in District 3-3A with a 2-1 record and Glenbrook ended up in third place in District 4-3A at 1-2, the Apaches narrowly finished ahead of the Tigers in the power points, 19.833 to 19.6, to earn the No. 8 seed. Which means the Tigers are the No. 9 seed.
Centreville Academy goes into the Class 3A Playoffs with a 5-5 record after a 36-12 win at home over Newton County Academy. Glenbrook enters with a 4-4 overall record after a 66-42 loss to District 4-3A champion and No. 2 seed Greenville Christian School.
Delta Charter School at Tensas High School
ST. JOSEPH, La. — Don’t look now, but the Delta Charter School Storm is on a two-game winning streak. And it will look to make it three in a row it takes the short trip to St. Joseph, La. to take on the Tensas High School Panthers in an LHSAA District 2-1A match-up Friday at 7 p.m.
Delta Charter improved to 2-2 overall and 2-1 in district play after a 26-0 shutout win over Delhi High School. Meanwhile, Tensas High fell to 0-4 overall and 0-3 in district play after a 42-6 loss at Oak Grove High School. This will be the first home game of the season for the Panthers.
LaSalle at Block
JONESVILLE — The Block High School Bears will look to claim their first win of the season Friday night when they host the LaSalle High School Tigers for homecoming in an LHSAA District 3-1A game. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
LaSalle is 1-3 overall and 0-1 in district play after a tough 23-20 loss at St. Mary’s High School. Block is 0-4 overall and 0-1 in district play after a 40-0 loss at Logansport High School.
Delhi High School at Sicily Island
SICILY ISLAND — The Sicily Island High School Tigers will look to finally pick up their first win of the season when they host another struggling team in the Delhi High School Bears in an LHSAA District 2-1A game Friday at 7 p.m.
While Delhi High lost to Delta Charter School 26-0 to fall to 1-3 overall and 0-3 in district play, Sicily Island fell to 0-4 overall and also 0-3 in district play after a 34-6 loss on the road to St. Frederick High School.