First things first. The Blue Devils are at home for a second straight week of the playoffs and welcome Byhalia on Friday.
“They’re very impressive. They’ve got a real good running back. The quarterback is about 6-foot-4, 230 pounds. He can run and throw the ball. Their athletes are as good as anybody we’ve played,” Booneville coach Mike Mattox said. “We really have our hands full.”
In the regular season, 3A favorite Charleston beat Byhalia 28-15, one of four losses for the 8-4 Indians. Booneville is 9-2.
Both teams prefer the run, but Booneville quarterback Jack Simpson may give his team an edge in the passing game.
Indians’ senior Devonte Norman has rushed for 1,276 yards and nine touchdowns. QB Markeise Rodgers has rushed for a team-second five scores.
Mattox admits his team is bruised, but said everyone is available.
“We’re beat up, nicked up and stuff you expect this time of year,” he said.
The Blue Devils beat Ruleville 41-20 last week. Sophomore running back Dejesuse Rogers has rushed for 1,331 yards and 13 touchdowns. Simpson has thrown for nearly 1,300 yards, 628 of those to Andrew Lambert, who has five receiving touchdowns.
“We’ve got to play very smart football and can’t turn it over,” Mattox said. “Of course, you never want to turn the ball over, but we’ve got to protect the football and not make mistakes, don’t blow assignments or coverages and try to play mistake-free.”
Both beat common foes Tishomingo County and Holly Springs. Each beat Holly Springs by 22 points.