Columbus used last week’s bye to rest and recover, but the Falcons are ready to return to the field Friday against Lanier.
“The team’s excited, ready to get out and ready to show what we’ve been practicing and working on,” coach Joshua Pulphus said.
The winless Falcons might need all the rest they got over the break against a physical team like Lanier, which, like Columbus, lost to Provine earlier in the season. The Bulldogs have beaten Yazoo City and Jim Hill.
“They’ve played against great competition,” Pulphus said. “Love to run the football.”
If the Falcons could get their first win in their homecoming game, it would be “a breath of fresh air, a sigh of relief” for the players, Pulphus said.
“From the start, it wasn’t gonna be an overnight process,” Pulphus said. “Their time is coming.”
Heritage Academy (5-0) at Bayou Academy (1-3)
Heritage Academy coach Sean Harrison knows that while his team’s record may be perfect, the Patriots can never say the same.
“We’re never gonna be perfect, and I think we still have a lot of room for improvement,” Harrison said.
The Pats have yet another chance to improve when they travel to face Bayou Academy, which has struggled to a 1-3 record to start the season.
“I think we need to improve a lot of little things: missed blocks, dropped passes, missed cuts by running backs,” Harrison said.
If Heritage Academy can manage that, Friday’s game shouldn’t pose a big problem for the second-ranked private school team in the state.
“This is one of those games that if we go in and do what we’re supposed to do, we’ll be alright,” Harrison said.
West Lowndes (4-0) vs. Nanih Waiya (2-2)
West Lowndes has to go through one of the top teams in Class 1A if it hopes to remain undefeated five weeks into the season.
Nanih Waiya, the third-ranked team in Class 1A, visits the Panthers in what West Lowndes coach Anthony King knows will be a “measuring stick” for his team.
The Warriors boast a physical team led by twin seniors Donovan and Devean Turner.
“They’re just gonna come out and do what they do,” King said. “No kind of trickery. We just have to stop it. We’ve gotta play smart, be physical up front, just come out and execute the game plan, and we should be fine.”
Whether or not West Lowndes can do just that will say a lot about the Panthers.
“We’re gonna find out what type of team we are,” King said.
New Hope (1-3) at Aberdeen (1-3)
New Hope coach Wade Tackett and his players know the Trojans are better than the 1-3 record they own.
But until they can show it on the scoreboard, nobody else will.
Tackett wants to start getting in that direction beginning with Friday’s game at Aberdeen.
The Bulldogs, also 1-3, have a “put the hand in the dirt, come right at you” I-formation offense, Tackett said.
New Hope’s lone win is against Caledonia, which beat Aberdeen earlier in the season, but Tackett said the Trojans can’t afford to take too much away from that result.
“We don’t necessarily run the same defense or offense that Caledonia does,” Tackett said. “We don’t have the same players that Caledonia does. Usually week to week, you can’t put too much emphasis on what other teams have done against other teams.”
All the Trojans can do is stay focused and practice hard, preparing for a chance to improve their record to 2-3.
“They’re anxious and ready to get back out there and show how good they really are,” Tackett said.
Starkville Academy (3-1) at Leake Academy (1-3)
What does Starkville Academy see in Leake Academy, its opponent Friday?
“They look a lot like us,” Volunteers coach Chase Nicholson said. “They run the football. No matter who’s in there, their quarterback’s always good. They’re gonna have some wideouts that can catch the ball.”
It’s not surprising, then, that the last four meetings between the two teams have all been close, and Nicholson expects another tight one Friday.
“Everything we get we’re gonna have to earn, and everything they get they’re gonna have to earn,” Nicholson said. “That’s just the way the game’s gonna go.”
But there’s a clear recipe for the Vols to handle Leake improve to 4-1.
“We’ve gotta do what we do and do it well and limit the mistakes while also keeping them from having any big plays,” Nicholson said. “We have to do our job. It’s gonna be a good football game.”
Theo DeRosa reports on Mississippi State sports for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @Theo_DeRosa.
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