Wilkinson County High School looking for first win

Published 3:00 pm Thursday, September 16, 2021

WOODVILLE — Wilkinson County (0-2) travels to Crystal Springs (2-1) Friday night in just their second game of the season. COVID forced them to forfeit their first game with Natchez High, and Hurricane Ida canceled their matchup with Amite County. 

Coming off of a 30-26 defeat to Wesson at Co-Lin, the Wildcats are looking to rebound from a good performance. Head coach Jeffery Gibson said the school going virtual because of COVID was an unfortunate situation. It caused his team to miss opportunities to develop in games and practice. 

“Going into our first game, we only had eight practices,” Gibson said. “Going into this game, we will practice all week. We have to do our best to stay hydrated and eat properly. Crystal Springs is a good ball club. They have a Florida State commit in quarterback and linebacker Trevion Williams.” 

Wilkinson County High School is still a work in progress, and his players understand that. He said he is excited to see his team play on Friday to see how much they have grown this week. 

In their game against Wesson, quarterback Jaquel Dukes threw for three touchdowns and rushed for another. Wesson played more games, and it was the difference. They were in better game shape, he said. 

“We played well against Wesson until we cramped up,” Gibson said. “Now, we have a game under our belt. They know how their bodies will feel. I’m feeling really good about going into our game with Crystal Springs. Our quarterback played well last week. Dukes is a sophomore, but he didn’t play like a sophomore.”

Know your opponent: Crystal Springs 

The Tigers are averaging 51.8 yards through the air and 98.3 yards on the ground this year. Running back Johnnie Daniels has gained 243 yards in three games and leads the Tigers in rushing yardage. Williams will also be a threat, he said. 

Wilkinson County’s key to victory is to stay disciplined and play technically sound football. To slow down Daniels, they will have to play well on the defensive line and tackle well. He is an athletic running back, Gibson said. 

Weather

Tropical storm Nicholas made landfall on Tuesday morning. It brings a week-long forecast of rain in Mississippi. The weather will have an impact on the game, Gibson said. His team likes to use the passing game to get the ball into the hands of his playmakers. 

Rain makes the ball slippery, so ball security is crucial. Skill players in the wide receiver, running back and quarterback spots will work on handling a wet ball this week, he said. Additionally, footballs become heavier when they get wet, he said. 

“The rain will slow up our passing game,” Gibson said. “We have to practice wet ball drills. We will go out in the mud this week to get used to how to plant our feet. It will help the players get a feel for playing in slick conditions. It is different playing in the mud than on a dry football field.”

He is excited to see his coaches and players take the field Friday night in Crystal Springs. They will be looking for their first win of the 2021 season. The Wildcats had fan support when they played in Wesson, and they hope to have that same support this Friday. 

“I want to thank the community and the administration for their support,” Gibson said. “I want them to continue to come out and support us as we travel.”

The kickoff against Crystal Springs is at 7 p.m. at Crystal Springs High School. Fans can watch the game live on WCHS’s Facebook page.