Most important games ahead of Wildcats, not behind them

By Austin Bishop

The Winston County Journal

 

It might be hard to convince the Louisville High School football team that the five most important regular season football games of the season are ahead of them, and not behind.

After all, the Wildcats just knocked off long-time rival Kosciusko 28-0 last week and the four weeks previous ran through a rigorous schedule by beating Wilkinson County, Noxubee County, Philadelphia and Columbus in succession. Those four teams are legitimate contenders to run deep into the playoffs.

The same can’t necessarily be said about the five teams in front of them. But it’s those five games, all Region 5-3A contests, that veteran LHS coach M.C. Miller has on his mind. And he contends it’s the responsibility of he and his staff to make sure the Wildcats understand what is on the line.

“We have played some tough games against some tough teams to get ready for the district,” Miller said. “But if you lose now, it’s really going to hurt. We want to go through it (district schedule) undefeated, so we can get that No. 1 seed. But to do that you really do have to play them one at a time. If you don’t, it will get you in trouble.

“We will spend some time this week making sure they (players) understand what is at stake and how important each game is,” Miller.

There is no doubt that common sense says Louisville’s toughest regular season games are behind them. All that has to be done is look at the records. But Miller says none of that matters when the lights come on at 7 on Friday nights.

“Everybody is out there trying to beat you,” he said. “They would love to do it.”

Up first for LHS in Region 3-1A play are the Tigers of Winona, who pay a visit to R.E. Hinze Stadium this Friday. The Tigers are 1-5 on the season with their only win being 13-7 over J.Z. George three weeks ago. Winona has lost to Kosciusko (26-20), Choctaw County (41-20), Eupora (49-14), Cleveland (13-6) and Water Valley (42-10).

Miller said the key to the Wildcats this season has been their aggressive, bruising defensive attack.

“We have been playing real physical and that has made the difference for us,” he said. “We have been able to control things defensively and give our offense a chance to score.”

The ‘Cats have allowed just 34 points in six games for an average of 5.7 points per game. LHS has recorded two shutouts and has allowed only one opponent, Wilkinson County, to score more than one touchdown in a game.

Last Friday the ‘Cats took a 14-0 first quarter lead thanks to a 15-yard touchdown pass from Wyatt Roberts to Dalton Hudspeth and a 62-yard punt return for a score by Desmond Goss.

Demarcus Brooks put the winners up 21-0 at the half with a 25-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, while Roberts connected with Hudspeth for a 10-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Corey McCullough was good on all four point after kicks.

Roberts hit on 16-of-34 passes for 190 yards, while Hudspeth had seven catches for 74 yards and Travian Hudson had four catches for 58 yards. Goss had two catches for 29 yards, while Avonte Harris, Brooks and Rodrick Roberts had one reception each.

J.J. Waldrip rushed for 81 yards on 13 carries to lead the LHS ground attack, while Brooks had 53 yards on seven carries, Drew Lee 49 yards on eight attempts and Roberts had six totes for 25 yards.

Jeremy Sangster recorded 13 tackles to lead the LHS defense, while Anthony Gund had eight stops and Channing Hughes seven. Dyquan Jordan had three quarterback sacks and an interception, while Shaquille Shumaker recorded three sacks of his own. Lakendrick Vaughn was credited with an interception for the ‘Cats, who are now 6-0 and ranked No. 7 in the Jackson Clarion-Ledger’s Super 10. LHS is ranked No. 1 by the statewide newspaper among Class 3A schools.