Skuna River game may have high stakes

By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal

Bruce and Baldwyn have dominated the talk of Division 1-2A, but don’t overlook Calhoun City. The Wildcats certainly aren’t out of the conversation.
If Calhoun City (5-4, 2-1), Bruce and Baldwyn all win Friday, the final game of the season could make the standings interesting. A first-round home playoffs berth could ride on the outcome of the Oct. 26 Skuna River Rivalry game – Bruce at Calhoun City.
“That’s the way it was last year. We’re excited to be in that position,” Calhoun City coach Perry Liles said. “We’ve grown through the year. We started with three returning starters on each side. We went through growing pains and here at the end we have a lot better chance than we did the first game for sure.
“Bruce has an outstanding team. That should be a great contest.”
Last year’s Skuna River game was for the division title, with Calhoun City winning before going all the way to North state. The Wildcats lost this season’s division opener against Baldwyn, 15-14, blowing a 14-0 first-quarter lead.
Liles relies on a young cast. Senior nose guard Kardevin Thomas, junior linebackers Cartin McBride and Lavarious Varando and sophomore quarterback Chakel Gates have played big roles in the climb.
“We control our own destiny of course. All we have to do is win the rest of our games. That will be difficult, but that’s the goal,” Liles said.
Two big non-division wins came against Coffeeville and Eupora. Three of the Wildcats’ four losses came to 4A schools Amory and Houston and 3A Water Valley, all contenders in their classes.
Liles said the Eupora win was probably the Wildcats’ best defensive effort. It was one of three wins the defense allowed only three points in.
“The defense played better … but we couldn’t put all the phases together. Baldwyn is a good team and was definitely the better team that night,” Liles said.
brandon.speck@journalinc.com