Three area teams enter playoffs on hot streaks

By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal

Other than a relatively bad first half against Evangel Christian, the Lafayette High Commodores have dominated their competition this season.
During their second-consecutive 11-0 regular season, the top-ranked ‘Dores outscored their opponents 493-112. Their closest contest came in Week 4, at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, La., when they rallied from a 28-14 halftime deficit to defeat 13-time Louisiana state champion Evangel Christian, 35-34, in the “Battle on the Border” showcase.
“We hadn’t played badly much,” Commodores head coach Anthony Hart said about his 2011 club. “I thought we had a bad half in Louisiana. We were a little shell-shocked for a half, but we then dominated the second half.
“And maybe a little bit over in Tunica (against Rosa Fort), we struggled a little bit there. But pretty much the rest of the year they played well.”
By winning last year’s Class 4A state championship, the ‘Dores became the first team in MHSAA’s history to finish a season at 16-0.
Just five wins separate them now from becoming the first to post consecutive 16-0 seasons. The ‘Dores will go for win No. 12 of their 2011 campaign when they host Leake Central in the first round of the playoffs Friday night.
Possible rematches?
The only other team in the Daily Journal’s coverage area to conclude the ’11 regular season undefeated is Kossuth. The top-ranked Class 3A team, at 10-0, hosts Marks Palmer in the first round Friday.
The Aggies could have two possible rematches on their hands in the postseason. The first could come in the second round, if Mooreville defeats McClain and the Aggies get past Marks Palmer in the opening round.
The Aggies beat the Troopers 26-7 at home on Sept. 23.
The bigger rematch for the Aggies, however, would be in the quarterfinals – a game likely to determine the No. 1 Class 3A team in the Journal’s coverage area for all of 2011. Aberdeen, the state runner-up the past two seasons, blasted the Aggies 50-6 in a first-round playoff game last year.
But the second-ranked Bulldogs (6-5) and top-ranked Aggies have to win two games for a rematch to occur.
Non-division games matter
Bruce won’t get another shot this season against its Calhoun County rival, Calhoun City, unless both were to advance to the semifinals of the Class 2A playoffs.
Calhoun City, the Journal’s No. 1 small school, overcame a 10-0 deficit on the road to defeat its nemesis, the second-ranked Trojans, 27-16, on Friday night to win the Division 1-2A title.
“I think that Bruce is a very talented team and we just played better as the game went on,” Wildcats head coach Perry Liles said when asked how his team was able to outscore the Trojans 27-6 from the end of the first quarter on.
Yes, the Wildcats are an exceptionally talented team themselves, having lost only one regular-season game in the last two years and finishing 2010 as Class 2A’s state runner-up. But perhaps the major reason why the Wildcats were able to shut down the Trojans’ offense has to do with a September non-division game at Amory.
“Losing at Amory gave us a lot of practice for tonight,” Liles said of his team’s 28-13 loss to the Class 4A Panthers, “because they (Amory) threw it 54 times.”
The Trojans passed 40 times against the Wildcats Friday night, completing only 17 of those throws. Two of those attempts were picked off.
“Playing teams like that (Amory) helps you in the long run,” added Liles.
john.wilbert@journalinc.com