By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
In a series that has seen its recent share of lopsided scores, tonight’s A-Game is a big one.
The 76th annual A-Game between Monroe County rivals Amory and Aberdeen is one of the most anticipated in the game’s history. It is scheduled for 7:30 tonight at Lester Miley Stadium in Aberdeen.
Class 4A Amory is No. 2 in the Journal’s Class 3A/4A rankings. 3A Aberdeen is No. 4.
Aberdeen (1-1) has won three straight A-Games, holding onto the A-Trophy for 36 straight months. The Amory Panthers (2-0) lost 14-7 last season and their seniors have one last shot to beat the Bulldogs. The previous two seasons, Aberdeen won by a combined score of 95-15.
“They’re the same as Aberdeen has been since I’ve been here,” said third-year Amory coach Trent Hammond. “They’re physical. They’re fast. They’re aggressive.”
Amory sophomore quarterback Jon David Poss has had his way in blowouts of Mooreville and Nettleton, throwing for 606 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions.
Both starting quarterbacks will be sophomores; Josh Williams in his second season for the Bulldogs.
“They’re so explosive,” said Aberdeen coach Mark Bray. “We can’t let them have big plays. They will come out and nickel and dime you. We know that, but we’ve got to mix it up and I’m sure they’re going to mix it up offensively.”
Aberdeen’s defense has given up a pair of touchdowns each to Class 6A Columbus and 4A Shannon.
Offensively, it has split four touchdowns through the air and on the ground, the ground game led by junior Chico Harrison.
“If we go down there and make mistakes, we don’t win, plain and simple,” Hammond said.
If Amory is looking for an advantage, it may have it in its new defensive coordinator Patrick Schoolar. Schoolar spent the last five seasons in that position at Aberdeen.
Bray, who was Aberdeen’s offensive coordinator last season, said Schoolar’s main advantage is knowing the players since sixth grade. Schoolar agreed.
“I know the personnel and I’ve seen film, but that’s probably the only advantage I have. Knowing the kids helps a lot,” Schoolar said.