Can a loss propel Falkner again?

By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal

FALKNER – Vardaman continued a big streak on Thursday night at Falkner. The Rams beat Division 1-1A opponent Falkner 34-26 to extend their win streak in the series to 12 games.
Second-year Falkner coach Ben Ashley said a similar result last season helped his team.
Falkner (3-1) rattled off eight straight wins after the loss and lost in the first round of the playoffs to Ray Brooks.
“Last year going to Vardaman and getting beat spring-boarded our season. Because we knew what kind of program they had and we hung in there, toe to toe,” Ashley said.
The two are thought to be the top teams in the division but still have games against improved Smithville – Vardaman hosts the Seminoles on Friday.
Falkner entered the game as the Daily Journal’s second-ranked small school. The Rams were unranked.
“I think this is a good experience for us. Hopefully it will create a little work ethic and desire,” Ashley said. “Last year that loss did for us.”
Vardaman senior quarterback Cody Jenkins threw for 283 yards on 11 of 18 passing with three touchdowns Thursday.
‘just a good team’
Vardaman coach Justin Hollis talked later about the improvements the Eagles have made since Ashley, a former coaching mate at Amory, arrived. Falkner sophomore Jeramie Lawrence had 238 yards on 22 carries.
“He’s going to be a good football player. You can tell he’s a little young but when he gets the ball in his hands, he runs hard and you can’t teach that,” Hollis said. “He’s got a chance to be something special and there are a couple of players. They’re just a good team, period.”
Vardaman is hoping for a jumpstart off of Thursday’s win as well. The Rams (1-2) won seven straight games after the Falkner game in 2011 and went all the way to the North finals. The Rams opened this season with a pair of losses against higher class ranked teams East Webster and Bruce.
Falkner hosts Coldwater on Friday and goes to Smithville in its regular-season finale.
“I’m not into moral victories any more, but I saw some good things (Thursday),” Ashley said.
brandon.speck@journalinc.com

Daily Journal Rankings

Large Schools
Class 5A/6A

1. West Point, 2-1, 1 vs. Noxubee County
2. Oxford, 4-0, 2 Bye
3. Saltillo, 3-1, NR Bye

Class 3A/4A
1. Lafayette, 3-1, 1 vs. Shannon
2. Itawamba AHS 3-0, 2 at Senatobia
3. Houston, 4-0, 4 at Hamilton
4. Amory, 3-1, 5T vs. Okolona
5. Aberdeen, 2-2, 3 at West Bolivar

Class 1A/2A
1. Bruce, 3-1, 1 vs. Ackerman
2. Smithville, 3-0, 4 at Vardaman
3. Vardaman, 1-2, NR vs. Smithville
4. East Webster, 3-1, 3 vs. Walnut
5. Falkner, 3-1, 2 Bye