By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
FULTON – The Itawamba Indians are riding high on the heels of a three-game winning streak.
As if they need any further shot of incentive, it can become a four-game winning streak with a victory over its rival, the Northeast Tigers, in a game that kicks off at 7 p.m. today in Booneville.
“I think this is the game both of us circle every year,” ICC coach Jon Williams said. “This game means something to us.”
After a painfully slow start, the Indians (3-4, 3-1) most recently added to their win streak with a 42-27 victory last week over Holmes. While chalking up that win, Williams saw his ground attack of cousins Keon McGaughy from Shannon and DeShawn McGaughy from Fulton combine for 303 yards.
“Going back to the Delta game, we started clicking offensively, and the kids started understanding what their identity was going to be,” Williams said. “It has taken us three games to really figure it out, with the offensive line playing well, and the whole team playing with a bit more confidence.”
ICC will need that confidence against Northeast (6-1, 4-1), ranked No. 16 in the nation.
“Defensively, they have some good players, and Deion Belue is a game changer on special teams,” Williams said. “Offensively, they’re similar to us – they just want to get first downs.
“I’ve told the team three things they need to do: be the most physical team, win special teams, and no turnovers. It may be a clichampé, but in a game like this with two similar offenses, that’s what it is going to come down to.”
Because of Itawamba’s slow start there is also something on the backburner for the Indians in this contest – the playoffs. ICC and Northeast are tied for second place in the MACJC North Division, and the winner of today’s contest certainly has a leg up for that postseason spot.
“We haven’t talked about the playoffs,” Williams said. “We’re more concerned about winning the game against a good Northeast team.
“We don’t need that motivation for this game.”
ICC defeated Northeast last season 20-17, knocking the Tigers out of the No. 2 playoff slot.