By Austin Bishop
The Winston County Journal
Recess is over for the Louisville High School football team and the Wildcats will begin preparing for their final exams on Friday night when they host 11-1 Water Valley in the second round of the MHSAA Class 3A State Football Playoffs.
The Wildcats have outscored their last five opponents 257-19, but they look for much stiffer competition on Friday night when LHS look to be seriously challenged for the first time since back-to-back 19-6 and 21-10 wins over Philadelphia and Columbus in the fourth and fifth weeks of the season.
“They have a pretty good ball club,” LHS head coach M.C. Miller said of Water Valley. “I know we will have to play to beat them. If we want to keep this going, we have to win here.
“They know they are playing a good team and we know we are playing a good team,” he said. “We are going to have to step it up and play four quarters of football. That’s something we haven’t had to do in quite a while, but we will need to on Friday night.”
Water Valley’s only loss on the season has been to Charleston, ranked No. 3 in the state in Class 3A behind Louisville and Hazlehurst.
“This is like another season to us,” Miller said of the rest of the playoffs that lie in front of his Wildcats. “We just have to get ready to play these next four games.”
The 12-0 Wildcats had no trouble with Ruleville Central on Friday night as they rolled to a 69-0 win in the first round of the playoffs.
“They really were a fifth-place team and weren’t even expecting to play,” Miller said. “I think a lot of their guys had started playing basketball.” A team that finished ahead of them wasn’t eligible for the playoffs, so that meant Ruleville Central was bumped up to the No. 4 spot in the region and sent to Louisville.
The Wildcats scored four touchdowns in the first quarter and led 48-0 at the half.
Senior quarterback Wyatt Roberts finished the night 10-of-14 passing for 154 yards and two touchdowns, while senior wide receiver Desmond Goss scored three touchdowns in the first quarter.
Sophomore place-kicker Corey McCullough had a big night for the ‘Cats, hitting on all nine of his extra point attempts and also booting a pair of field goals.
LHS led 28-0 after one quarter of play thanks to a touchdown run of 10 yards by Goss, followed by touchdown passes of 7 and 32 yards from Roberts to Goss. The final touchdown of the quarter came on an 8-yard run by Roberts.
McCullough booted field goals of 20 and 24 yards in the second quarter, while T.J. Hudson scored on a 7-yard run and Cameron Harrington returned an interception 20 yards for a score.
Louisville’s third quarter touchdown came on an 8-yard run by J.J. Waldrip, while Avonte Harris scored on a 5-yard run in the fourth quarter and Keon Coleman followed that up with a 10-yard scoring run of his own.
Hudson finished the night with 58 rushing yards on three attempts, while Demarcus Brooks had three carries for 29 yards, Harris had two for 35 and Waldrip four for 28.
Goss caught three passes for 53 yards, while Dalton Hudspeth had three for 47 and Dontae Jones three for 53. Rodrick Roberts and Demarcus Frazier also had a catch each for the winners.
Jeremy Sangster, Jalon Sangster and Malik Slaughter had five tackles each to lead the winners.