Bearcats, Chieftains jockey in 1-2A race

By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal

Wins are supposed to ease pressure. But Baldwyn won last week and the pressure has increased.
The Bearcats host Okolona tonight at 7 p.m. in the second Division 1-2A game for each school. Both teams started 1-0.
“After going to Calhoun City and winning, it makes this even bigger because if you can win, you’re at 2-0 with three games left and you never know what’s going to happen,” said Baldwyn coach Michael Gray.
The teams, along with Bruce, all won last week and are vying for one of two home games to open the playoffs.
Baldwyn hopes to have sophomore back Laquintez Upshaw back after missing last week with a knee injury he suffered against South Pontotoc. Upshaw remains the team’s leading rusher with 322 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries. Upshaw, Duke Upshaw and Bradley Boose have all rushed for three scores.
Devonta Gates and Will Moore have each caught three touchdown passes from Corbin Scott.
Having Laquintez Upshaw rejoin the defensive backfield with Duke Upshaw could make it tough for the Chieftains to throw.
“Like any game, you’ve got to be careful with penalties in key situations. You can’t do that and give yourself a chance to be in the game,” Okolona coach Calvin Aldridge said. “We can’t let them have the ball. Time of possession and field position are important.”
Who’s hot?
Okolona is perfectly happy to keep it on the ground but threw for 200 last week and has the capability to pass with quarterback Jacolbi Heard.
In last week’s 51-0 win against Hatley, Dequin Babbitt and Everett Brooks combined for five TD runs. Babbitt had runs of 26 and 43 and Brooks ran it from 9, 22 and 50 yards away. All three are above the 400-yard mark and Aldridge says the guy with the hot hand tends to get the ball.
“They’re big and athletic. We’re going to have to be able to control the football and stop the run,” Gray said. “We have weapons of our own, but defensively we’re going to have to be able to get them in passing situations.”
All games at 7 p.m.
Here’s a reminder that, from tonight on, all high school games will begin at 7 p.m. and will be played without heat breaks.
brandon.speck@journalinc.com