By Brandon Speck
JACKSON – Calhoun City didn’t feel like anyone expected it to win many games.
The Wildcats know no one thinks they can win today’s state championship game, a 3 p.m. matchup with Bassfield at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
“Everybody picks us to lose,” Calhoun City coach Perry Liles said. “We have to handle that. I think we’re pretty much used to that, because pretty much that happens every week.”
Predictions against Calhoun City came against a stout schedule it went 11-3 against, tough wins to close the playoffs against West Bolivar and at Baldwyn.
It gets as tough as ever against the Yellowjackets (14-1). Bassfield’s only loss came 10 games ago at Jackson Prep.
The schedule includes wins over 3A South champ Hazlehurst and 4A South champ Forrest County AHS.
Bassfield is aiming for its third title in five years and features four commits to Ole Miss and Southern Miss.
“It’s a lot of pressure, but we don’t really focus on it,” said Southern Miss committed corner Curtis Mikell. “We just focus on winning every Friday night.”
The Jackets like to run, five players with at least 300 yards, led by junior Trodrick Daniels’ 1,417 yards and 25 touchdowns. When they throw, it’s Ole Miss commit Calvin Moore, who has thrown for 1,082 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Linebacker Alvin Moore, another Ole Miss commit, leads the team with 119 tackles, 11 for loss.
“We know they’re a great football team and have great players,” Liles said. “We just have to do what we’re supposed to do.”
City knows all about the run, three players over 700 yards. Quarterback Chakel Gates has 1,032 yards and 11 touchdowns. Cartin Mcbride and Levarious Varnado have combined for 1,538 yards and 31 scores. Calhoun City has won eight straight.
To make it tougher, the Wildcats will be without top receiver Brieton Sykes, also a top corner, ejected after an altercation last week.
“It was a tough division and we had a tough pre-region schedule,” said Calhoun City linebacker Steele Liles said. “I think this whole year has prepared us and got us better for the game.”