Showdown: Ferriday ready to host Oak Grove on Thursday
Published 12:16 pm Thursday, October 12, 2023
FERRIDAY — The crowd at Melz Field will be on its feet and electric as usual when the Ferriday High School Trojans play host to the Oak Grove High School Tigers with first place in LHSAA District 2-2A on the line.
Kickoff between Oak Grove (4-2, 2-0) and Ferriday (4-2, 3-0) is scheduled for 7 p.m. And the field conditions may play a factor as rain is forecast for much of the Miss-Lou region on Wednesday and perhaps a few showers could fall on Thursday.
Both teams are coming off impressive wins last Friday night. Oak Grove, the defending LHSAA Non-Select Division IV state champion and ranked No. 13 in the Non-Select Division IV power ratings as of Oct. 2, defeated then-undefeated and Division IV No. 3 Haynesville High School at home 61-27. Ferriday overcame a slow start defensively to defeat a good General Trass High School squad 52-34.
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As for why this game is being played on a Thursday night to begin with, Trojans head coach Cleothis Cummings III said, “I don’t know. (Oak Grove head) coach (Ryan) Gregory asked me if it’s okay and I said yes. It may be a benefit to them because they’re driving a long way.”
Cummings added that his team will be ready and motivated for this very important district game.
“We’re going to be okay. It’s just practice as usual. Definitely grinding in the weight room. Maintaining our conditioning and strength,” Cummings said.
Last year when these two teams faced each other at Oak Grove, the Tigers put a lot of points on Ferriday on their way to a 57-22 victory over the Trojans. Cummings said he wants to get that bad taste our of their mouths, but doing so won’t be easy.
“The thing we remember is looking at what they have now versus what they had last year. Scoring 57 points on us, it wasn’t a good feeling. Make sure we do what we do to make sure that doesn’t happen to us this year,” Cummings noted.
As for what the Trojans, ranked No. 5 in the Non-Select Division IV power ratings on Oct. 2, will be doing in practice to get ready for the Tigers, Cummings said, “Just eliminating the mistakes. We’re still making mistakes. Being focused. We have a nucleus that gets everyone together. Just locking into the mission. We’ve got a mission we’ve got to take care of. The guys are responding in practice.”
Record-wise, Ferriday already has twice as many wins this 2023 season (four) as it did all of the 2022 season (two). But the Trojans have to stay focused and their defense has to step up if they are to beat Oak Grove and have first place all to themselves in District 2-2A.
As for what concerns him most about the Tigers on each side of the ball, especially after what they did to Haynesville last week, Cummings said, “It’s the same old team. They’re physical team. They’re fast. The Bradley kids (junior quarterback Jackson Bradley) is their best weapon on offense. We have to minimize what he does. To put up 61 points on Haynesville and the history they have, that’s saying something. It have to say that’s a young Haynesville team. But they’re be ready come playoff time.
“Defensively, they like to grab the ball. We’ve got counterpunches for that. I’m just more focused on our offensive line. It’s not a concern. Something we have to make sure we capitalize on.”
For the Trojans to come out victorious Thursday night, Cumming said offensively junior quarterback Caleb Ellis and all of their receivers will have to have a big game while defensively, defensive end Khyan Melancon, outside linebacker Christopher Reed Jr. and strong safety Howard Curry will all need to step up.